Australian Women's Register Blog

Skip to content

Her Place: Women in the West exhibition open 7-31 March 2017.

Date: 15 March 2017

Her Place: Women in the West honours the lives and contributions of women in Melbourne’s west. It celebrates the work, achievements and historical significance of women through moving image, photographs, biographical accounts and personal artefacts. The exhibition tells the stories of ten women from the western suburbs of Melbourne. These women have contributed to Australian society at both national and local levels through their work as artists and activists, writers and scientists, businesswomen, lawyers and community leaders. The group includes a former state premier and the AFL’s first female coach.

To find out more, including the schedule of associated public program, please visit the website.

The Invisible Farmer Project is launched! Pay tribute to a fantastic farm woman you know!

Date: 15 March 2017

Invisible Farmer is the largest ever study of Australian women on the land. This three year project (2017-2019) is funded by the Australian Research Council and involves a nation-wide partnership between rural communities, academics, government and cultural organisations.

A key feature of the project is a call for tributes from ABC Rural. To pay tribute to a farm woman that you know, please head over to ABC Open. By sharing your story you will acknowledge and celebrate the extraordinary, creative and vital role that women in play in agriculture and farm communities across Australia.


Happy #IWD2017 everyone! #BeBoldForChange

Date: 8 March 2017

This morning, our colleague, Dr Rachel Buchanan, curator of the Germaine Greer archive at the University of Melbourne, gave thanks to ‘the women who keep records, protect memory and who care for archives’.

On this day, as we focus on positive stories of achievement by women, we are reminded of the vital work that we ‘memory protectors’ do! Social media is alive with the sounds of celebration, telling us how far we’ve come, what we have achieved, and how we can achieve more. But understanding this change across time would not be possible without the work of the women who keep records. A perusal of the The Encylopedia of Women and Leadership in a Century of Australian Democracy provides us with ample evidence of many improvements to the status of Australian white women since Federation. Archivists provide the pay dirt of historical story-telling.

Nor would we understand the unacceptable historical continuities without their vigilance. How long have we been banging on about the gender pay gap? Muriel Heagney, who dedicated most of her adult life to the pursuit of equal pay for women, died in poverty in 1974. One can only imagine how angry she would be at the slow rate of improvement, were she alive today. Dr Rosemary Francis, a long time supporter and employee of the Australian Women’s Archive Project, has dedicated much of her professional life as an historian, tracking down the records that support her research into the life of this extraordinary activist.

Without records, women’s stories are lost and their achievements are overlooked. So today, as we celebrate the lives of women, let’s give thanks to those who work hard, for relatively little pay, to keep them safe. Happy International Women’s Day 2017!

Follow this link to read some records of an important early twentieth century activist for women, Bessie Rischbieth, as she explains the importance of International Women’s Day in 1946.




Join us at PROV on IWD – March 8, 2017! Women and Welfare in Colonial Victoria

Date: 28 February 2017

PROV Lunchtime Seminar: International Women’s Day

Time: 1.00-2.15pm on 8 March 2017

Place: Conference room, PROV, 99 Shiel Street, North Melbourne.

Join us at Public Record Office Victoria for our annual International Women’s Day seminar, on 8 March 2017.

This year, the focus is on Women and Welfare in Colonial Victoria, with guest speaker Dr Nell Musgrove (ACU) addressing the topic of ‘Women creating kinship care’. Dr Musgrove will consider the correspondence files of the Chief Secretary that reveal that how in the later 19th century mothers, aunts and grandmothers wrote to the Neglected Children’s Department  requesting that they themselves be made the foster parents of children placed in care.  Nell Musgrove is author of The Scars Remain (2013).

Other panelists include:

Helen Morgan: (Research Fellow, eScholarship Research Centre, University of Melbourne)

Charlie Farrugia: (Senior Collections Advisor, PROV)

Nikki Henningham: (CEO, AWAP)

Chair:  Dr Rosemary Francis (Research Fellow, SHAPS, University of Melbourne)

Inquiries: Rosemary Francis:

This is a free event but bookings are recommended.

Congratulations Professor Patricia Grimshaw AO!

Date: 27 January 2017

We are delighted to announce that a past Australian Women’s Archives Project Committee of Management and National Foundation for Australian Women board member, Professor Patricia Grimshaw, has been recognised with an Order of Australia on the 2017 Australia Day Honours list. Given the extent of her ‘distinguished service to the social sciences and to the humanities through researching, documenting and preserving Australian history, and the roles of women in society’ it amazes us that it has taken so long. Professor Grimshaw has been inspiring scholars, awakening them to how structural inequity works and encouraging activism through experience and scholarship for four decades. Not one to blow her own trumpet, we are delighted that someone else has done it on her behalf!

While it is pleasing to see our deserving friends recognised for their achievements, there is still much to do to ensure women’s public contributions are better recognised. Men still far outnumber women in awards lists, but if women are nominated, they have a very good chance of being awarded.

The recently announced Victorian Government Gender Equity Strategy understands that recognising and promoting women’s public contributions, past and present, is an important step in creating a more equitable society. We need to speak up and nominate women who inspire us to be better people so that we can create a more just society. Get cracking, and start nominating!