Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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Read, Irene Victoria (1880 - 1972)


29 August 1880
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
27 August 1972
Mosman, New South Wales, Australia
Charity worker, Community worker and Philanthropist
Alternative Names
  • Phillips, Irene Victoria (maiden name)


Irene Read was active in many women's associations and charities in the first half of the twentieth century. During World War 2 she was very active in the Women's Australian National Services, an organisation she helped to found of which she was Executive Chairwoman from 1942 until the demise of the organization in 1948.


Irene Read began her career as a volunteer welfare worker at the age of twenty, with the Sydney Medical Mission. Belonging to an influential Sydney network of prominent professional and philanthropic women engaged in community work, she was a member of the Women's Club by 1908 and while president (1925-29) was its delegate on the National Council of Women of New South Wales (executive-member, 1928). She chaired the ladies' committee of the Havilah Church of England Children's Home and was a council-member (1931-54) of the women's central auxiliary of the New South Wales Society for Crippled Children. In 1936 she joined the Women's Executive Committee and the Women's Advisory Council for Australia's 150th Anniversary Celebrations and in 1938 was appointed O.B.E.

Sources used to compile this entry: Daniels, Kay, Murnane, Mary, Picot, Anne and National Research Program (Australia) (eds), Women in Australia : an annotated guide to records, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1977.

Related entries


  • The Women's Club (1901 - ?)

    Irene Read joined the Women's Club in 1908 and was president in the years 1929-29 and 1933.

    Date: 1927 - 1933

Related Women

Archival resources

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Irene Victoria Read papers, pictorial material and relics, 1839-1951, 1839 - 1951, MLMSS 2836 (K22194-K22196); Read, Irene Victoria (1880 - 1972); Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

Nikki Henningham

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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