Theme Australian Federation of Women Voters
- Alternative Names
Written by Sheila Byard, Independent Scholar
The Australian Federation of Women's Societies for Equal Citizenship was formed in 1921, and was later (1924) re-named the Australian Federation of Women Voters (AFWV) (Land, AWR). For three decades it was in the vanguard of the progressive women's movement in Australia. As Marian Sawer, among others, has noted, it was founded as a national lobby group in the interests of women's rights post suffrage. Many of the Federation's founders were impatient with slow and cumbersome decision-making processes in the National Councils of Women and their reluctance to form a federal or national body to lobby the Australian government on national and international matters of concern to women. But the timing of its inception is best explained in terms of the need for an organisation to represent Australian women at the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA) (later the International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Equal Citizenship (1926), then (from 1946) the International Alliance of Women (IAW)). The previous Australian affiliate, Vida Goldstein's Victoria-based Women's Political Association was disbanded in 1919 (Brownfoot, ADB; Land & Carey, AWR; Francis, 'WPA', AWR), and an opportunity now presented itself to form a nation-wide replacement. Mooted at the triennial Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) (Carey, 'National WCTU', AWR) national conference in Perth in 1918, the Federation was established straight after the next WCTU gathering in Melbourne in 1921 with Western Australia's Bessie Rischbieth (Lutton, ADB; Heywood, AWR) as president and vice-presidents Elizabeth Nicholls (Mune, ADB; Secomb, 'Nicholls', AWR) from South Australia, Annie Carvosso from Queensland and Mary Jamieson Williams (Alafaci, AWR) from New South Wales (Lake, Getting Equal, 154-9).
The story of the Australian Federation of Women Voters is closely intertwined with that of the the Women's Service Guilds (WSG) of Western Australia (Tallis, AWR), and with the leading role played in both organisations by Bessie Rischbieth from 1909 until her death in 1967, including as AFWV's president from 1921 to 1942, and as editor of the WSG and AFWV magazine, Dawn, until her death in 1967. Both the Federation and the Women's Service Guilds from which it grew were more than mere lobby groups and 'women's rights' organisations. As the Federation's initial name implies, with its emphasis on 'Equal Citizenship', there was certainly a common interest in getting women elected at local, state and national levels, but the underlying objective was to train women as citizen voters, to work for legislation that would improve conditions for women and their families, and to see women appointed to significant supervisory roles in the community and public institutions. This had also been the purpose of the Women's Political Association as well as of the various other pre-existing state organisations that affiliated with the AFWV, including the Women's Non-Party Association of South Australia (later League of Women Voters of South Australia) (Secomb, 'League', AWR), the Feminist Club in NSW (Carey, 'Feminist Club', AWR), and the Women's Non-Party League of Tasmania. Later affiliates included the United Associations of Women (NSW) (Henningham, AWR) and the Victorian Women Citizens Association (formed in 1922 and re-constituted with two other groups as the Victorian Federation of Women Voters in 1946) (Land & Heywood, AWR; Lake, A History, 134, 137).
When Rischbieth reviewed the work of the Federation shortly before her death in the 1967, she emphasised the reformist objectives of the women who joined the affiliated groups: 'The preoccupation of these groups as voters has had a direct bearing upon legislative enactments, such as State Children's Acts-the establishment of Children's Courts-the appointment of Women Police-the inclusion of women as Justices of the Peace-and women on Jury Service' (Rischbieth, March of Australian Women, 12). The AFWV's campaigns at national level did more plainly concern women's rights and representation: for example, lobbying for women to be nominated to official Australian delegations to the League of Nations and, after 1945, to the United Nations Organisation; campaigning for equal pay; and long-term agitation for the right of married women to retain their own nationality.
It has been argued that the common ground of the autonomous non-party state and nation-wide groups such as the Australian Federation of Women Voters, the National Councils of Women (NCWs), the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the Housewives' Associations was that they brought many Australian women into a form of participatory politics in the years between 1910 and 1960 (Lake, 'Women's Changing Conception'). While this has some obvious validity, it is too simple to aggregate these groups and to see them all as alike in being relatively passive followers of a band of determined and energetic reformist 'amateur politicians' with a common agenda. In the case of the affiliates of the Australian Federation of Women Voters, for example, their records show a membership of actively engaged women who collaborated and contributed many hours of careful work to the causes of the day, often reporting to several different groups simultaneously. Just as the reporting cycle of the UN human rights treaty system and its Conventions has provided a framework for review of progress towards equality since the 1940s, so, through the interwar decades of the League of Nations, the requests for reports that came through the channels of the International Alliance of Women and comparable groups gave the Australian partner organisations a context for their investigations. The AFWV, like the Australian NCW (Carey, 'NCWA", AWR), took responsibility for collating the reports from its affiliated societies for presentaton to these international forums.
The Australian Women's Archives Project and the creation of the Australian Women's Register, in addition to access to digitised publications through the National Library of Australia's Trove database, the National Centre of Biography's 'Obituaries Australia', and the Australian Dictionary of Biography online, have made it possible to explore in more detail the work of individual women leaders in the AFWV's affiliated organisations and to acknowledge the depth and variety of their activism both within and apart from the Federation itself. For example, Eva Pethybridge, president of the League of Women Voters of Victoria (LWVV) in 1959, has rightly been identified in her Australian Women's Register entry as a women's political rights activist and campaigner for peace during the Cold War (Carey, 'Pethybridge', AWR), but she was also heavily engaged throughout the same period in a campaign to get the Melbourne Anglican Synod to approve equal participation by women in parish level governance of the church. Further, new information provided by Mary Allinson about successful and unsuccessful women candidates for the parliament of Victoria up to 1970 also extends knowledge of those who were members of non-party groups like the League, and who stood for public office. New research in other states is providing the basis for similarly enhanced understandings.
One relatively unexplored aspect of the differences between leaders of the various groups that were part of the AFWV and linked to the IWSA/IAW relates to their varied religious affiliations. Reference has been made to Eva Pethybridge but there were others, including: Vida Goldstein, who played a leading role in the Women's Political Association, then spent the decades after World War I until her death as a leader in the Church of Christ Scientist; early candidates for local councils in NSW like Fanny Furner who were theosophists and co-Masons; Rischbieth herself who was an adherent of the esoteric theosophy-based Liberal Catholic Church, linked to the visit to Australia in 1910 of Annie Besant; Rischbieth's life-time friend and IAW colleague, NSW's Ruby Rich-Schalit (Tate, ADB; Carey & Morgan, AWR), who was a founding member in Australia of the Women's International Zionist Organisation; and Estelle Collman, one of the last presidents of the AFWV, who was a devotee of the Seventh Day Adventist cause, deeply committed to the work of the Save the Children Fund and UNICEF. Perhaps the humanist internationalism of these women drew them to alternative and more internationalist faith systems, and enabled them to work together across the sectarian divide within Australia and beyond.
Also in need of further exploration in the Federation's history are the divisions in the interwar and war years between the AFWV's leaders and those of other umbrella groups, especially the NCW national body (the Federated Council of NCWs, later National Council of Women of Australia (NCWA)). These divisions were attributable initially to conflict over which of the two groups should be recognised as the main voice in lobbying the Australian government on national issues concerning women, as well as in relation to overseas representation. The leaders of the Federation and the Councils regularly engaged in public dispute over which organisation would represent Australian women at international meetings such as those of the League of Nations but also at gatherings of women like the IWSA (or IAW) and the Pan-Pacific Women's conferences. An argument over the Rischbieth-led Federation delegation to the 1923 assembly of the IWSA in Rome reveals much about the nature of the divisions. Rischbieth's claim, reported in the press, that her group would represent the women of Australia roused consternation in Council circles since consideration of merger between the IWSA and the International Council of Women (ICW) was on the Rome agenda. The WA and Victorian Councils sent a telegram to Rome saying the delegation was 'not representative majority Australian women's organisations, or National Councils'. And, indeed, Rischbieth, in light of her differences with the WA Council and its president, Edith Cowan (Brown, ADB; Francis, 'Cowan', AWR), voted against merger, then, on being asked to address NCW WA on her return, refused to do so until an apology was forthcoming for the attempt to discredit her delegation. Her claims to the IWSA conference that the Australian NCWs were 'old-fashioned and mainly interested in questions of philanthropy' rather than equal rights were repeated on her return in a letter to the West Australian (24 December 1923), which argued that the largely charitable, philanthropic and educational affiliates of the Councils would prefer to be disassociated from political issues and controversies over rights. Thus Rischbieth was claiming women's rights and political activism as the exclusive domain of the League, while the Councils, for their part, refused to concede representative status to any other women's umbrella organisation, whatever the issue (Smart & Quartly, 71-3).
Similar disputes also arose over relations with the British Commonwealth League, based in London, and the newer linkages with the US Hull House reformers from the time of the first Pan-Pacific Women's Congress in Honolulu in 1928, to which Rischbieth again led an Australian delegation. Then and in the following years, Rischbieth, by contrast with the leaders of the other internationally affiliated Australian women's organisations-NCW Australia, the Young Women's Christian Association, and the Australian Federation of University Women (Carey & Land, AWR)-seems to have been more visible, arranging speaking engagements in the various Australian capitals she visited as she moved to and from Perth and to various international gatherings. She also seems to have been more adroit in her use of print media and radio. Thus the AFWV was represented as playing a central part in the Honolulu conference, a report published in the West Australian on 19 September 1928 quoting Bessie Rischbieth's assessment of its significance and noting the leading role of the AFWV. While Rischbieth was undoubtedly the delegation's key organiser, she underplayed the leading roles of other Australian women in Honolulu, most notably the YWCA's Dr Georgina Sweet (MacCallum, ADB; Morgan & Lemon, AWR) who was appointed the next president of the Pan-Pacific Women's conference for 1930.
By the 1930s, the roots of rivalry and conflict within the AFWV itself had been established with the emergence to prominence of Jessie Street (Radi, ADB; Morrell & Henningham, AWR), Linda Littlejohn (Foley, ADB; Henningham, 'Littlejohn', AWR) and their United Associations of Women (founded 1929) to contest the authority of Rischbieth. Street, having tried unsuccessfully to work within the NSW NCW as its secretary, had left the Council to focus on issues rather than personality and process. The United Associations, though affiliated to the AFWV, took independent directions on matters such as equal pay and protective legislation, aligning themselves with the American-based Equal Rights International, which opposed protection (Lake, Getting Equal, chap. 7), and, during World War II, inaugurating the Australian Women's Charter movement in 1943 with a conference, attended by representatives of ninety different women's groups, to begin planning for postwar reconstruction. 1943 also saw the emergence of the Women for Canberra movement, a concerted interstate effort to elect women to the federal parliament. Although nineteen women stood as independents, none was elected (Lake, Getting Equal, 189). The Victorian section, launched at the home of Ivy Weber (Browne, ADB; Francis, 'Weber' AWR), second woman to be elected to the parliament of Victoria, published a leaflet in January 1943 asserting that prejudice on the part of party selectors meant women and women's issues were being passed over. In the event, two women party candidates were elected-Enid Lyons in the House and Dorothy Tangney in the Senate-and the Women for Canberra Movement soon disintegrated (Encel et al 1974).
The absence of Rischbieth, stranded in England for the duration of the war, had enabled Street and the United Associations to assume a leading role during and in the immediate aftermath of the war, a second Charter conference being held in 1946. It was difficult for Rischbieth and the Federation to regain momentum and control in this context, especially in view of Street's prominence in Australian government circles as well as in her work for women's rights at the United Nations. In Victoria, a stronger affiliated organisation emerged as former members of the Women for Canberra Movement combined with the Victorian Women Citizens Movement and the League of Women Electors to form the new League of Women Voters of Victoria in August 1945, under the presidency of long-term Women Citizens Movement leader Julia Rapke (Smart, ADB). Similarly, a new League of Women Voters was established in NSW in 1949, led by Ruby Rich. Both stood for equal status for women, including equal pay, electoral reform and a range of social equity measures. Through the late forties and fifties, the several affiliates of the AFWV continued with their work, including the running of several sessions of the Women's Parliament in Melbourne, but the resentment towards Street and her allies grew.
From 1947, Rapke, Rich (now president of the AFWV 1945-48) and Rischbieth were preparing to mount an attack on the Charter movement, seeing it and Street as socialistic. In Western Australia to chair the third Charter conference at the Perth Town Hall in April 1949, Street was asked to assure the Lord Mayor that the Australian-Russian Society with which she was also involved was not connected with the Communist Party (West Australian, 28 April 1949). The conference was not well attended. Rischbieth wrote to the West Australian (3 May 1949): 'As the programme of the conference was practically identical with a well established women's organisation (State federal and international in scope) with which I am closely connected it might be wondered why Mrs Street's conference was not better supported', Rischbieth went on to point out that the Australian Communist Party was strongly supportive of the Women's Charter Movement that Mrs Street had represented the Movement at Paris in late 1945 when the Women's Independent (International) Democratic Federation (WIDF) had been established, and that WIDF was considered 'by the pre-war international organisations of women to be Communist directed, and is today dividing the world wide women's movement into two distinct camps with rival ideologies'. As the letters went back and forth in the columns of the West Australian between Street and Rischbieth, the reader could see both that Rischbieth, out of touch after seven years out of the country, could not accept that Street had been chosen by the Australian government to help shape the UN, and that Street could hardly grasp that her own position was on the wane as her progressive political agenda came to be seen as suspect in the Cold War context.
Rischbieth was unable after this episode to maintain the level of commentary she had managed during the decades between the wars; by 1951, her subscription list for the Dawn was down to fewer than twenty. One of the remaining subscribers, however, included the Melbourne-based Ada Norris (Fitzherbert, ADB; Carey & Heywood, AWR). Australian delegate to the UN Status of Women Commission 1961-63, by the 1970s Norris had assumed a pre-eminent role in the women's sector through her involvement with a reinvigorated National Council of Women and through the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) Status of Women Committee. It was the latter under Norris that provided the template for the UN for International Women's Year with its slogan 'Equality, Development and Peace'. With Julie Dahlitz, a lawyer then acting as executive officer for UNAA (and later to work for the ILO in Geneva), Norris brought together a national committee to oversee the International Year of Women in Australia. It included representatives from both sides of the political divide, including a woman unionist and a representative from the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labour and Industry, as well as delegates from the new and older women's movements.
From this time on, Australian women began to enter parliament in greater numbers, and to be more evenly represented in the professions. The combination of these changes in women's employment and the emergence of new avenues of engagement for politically interested women, including via the Women's Electoral Lobby (Morrell & Carey, AWR), began to reduce recruitment to the non-party women's groups; they began to look old-fashioned and even quaint and could no longer claim to be in the vanguard of the women's movement.
The main strength of the non-party women's groups had been their well-researched reporting, systematic attention to the work of governments, and the well-crafted letters sent to ministers. For example, as late as 1978, Lorelei Booker (Carey, 'Booker', AWR) as president of the AFWV was writing from Castlecove to the Australian minister for education, Senator Carrick, about the work of the Schools Commission in relation to the implementation of the recommendations of the report 'Girls, Schools and Society', and his reply demonstrated the government's attentiveness to the matters raised by the Federation. Nonetheless, one by one, the affiliates of the Federation decided to close. The AFWV itself disbanded in 1982. The League of Women Voters in Victoria was the exception; although WEL is now Australia's official affiliate to the IAW, the LWVV, along with the Union of Australian Women, is an associate member and, together, the three organisations hosted the IAW world conference in Melbourne in 2012. For the most part, the records of the state affiliates of the AFWV are accessible through the relevant state archives, except for those of the Tasmanian Non-Party Political League. Some of the funds from the closure of the WA Women's Service Guilds and the SA League of Women Voters were received by the LWVV as contributions to the Bessie Mabel Rischbieth Memorial Trust, established to encourage student interest in politics and government.
National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection
- Papers, 1912 - 1981, MS 7737; Greenwood, Irene; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
- Papers and objects, 1900 - 1967, MS 2004; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
National Library of Australia Oral History Collection
- Ruby Rich interviewed by Hazel de Berg for the Hazel de Berg collection, 4 August 1976, ORAL TRC 1/954-955; National Library of Australia Oral History Collection. Details
- Ruby Rich interviewed by Hazel de Berg in the Hazel de Berg collection, 12 December 1976 - 11 May 1977, ORAL TRC 1/994-995; National Library of Australia Oral History Collection. Details
- Ruby Rich interviewed by Hazel de Berg in the Hazel de Berg collection, 4 June 1975, ORAL TRC 1/835-839; National Library of Australia Oral History Collection. Details
Australian Women's Register Entries
- Alafaci, Annette, Williams, Mrs Jamieson, The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 27 April 2009. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE1807b.htm. Details
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- Carey, Jane, Pethybridge, Eva, The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 15 December 2004. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE1129b.htm. Details
- Carey, Jane, The National Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Australia (1891- ), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 1 May 2009. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0993b.htm. Details
- Carey, Jane, National Council of Women of Australia (1931- ), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 9 February 2011. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0067b.htm. Details
- Carey, Jane, Booker, Lorelei Emmeline (1906-1994), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 30 January 2013. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE1143b.htm. Details
- Carey, Jane and Heywood, Anne, Norris, Ada May (1901-1989), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 8 December 2004. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/IMP0045b.htm. Details
- Carey, Jane and Land, Clare, Australian Federation of Graduate Women Inc. (1922- ), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 6 September 2010. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0215b.htm. Details
- Carey, Jane and Morgan, Helen, Rich, Ruby (1888-1988), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 17 November 2009. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0489b.htm. Details
- Francis, Rosemary, Women's Political Association of Victoria (1903-1919), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 29 April 2009. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0541b.htm. Details
- Francis, Rosemary, Weber, Ivy Lavinia (1892-1976), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 24 April 2009. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE1148b.htm. Details
- Francis, Rosemary, Cowan, Edith Dircksey (1861-1932), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 17 November 2009. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/IMP0130b.htm. Details
- Henningham, Nikki, The United Associations of Women (1929- ), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 1 May 2009. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE1023b.htm. Details
- Henningham, Nikki, Littlejohn, Emma Linda Palmer (1883-1949), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 5 September 2012. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE3090b.htm. Details
- Heywood, Anne, Rischbieth, Bessie Mabel (1874-1967), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 4 May 2009. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/IMP0142b.htm. Details
- Land, Clare and Carey, Jane, Goldstein, Vida (1869-1949), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 17 November 2009. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0218b.htm. Details
- Land, Clare and Heywood, Anne, League of Women Voters Victoria (1945- ), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 31 January 2011. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0116b.htm. Details
- Morrell, Elle and Carey, Jane, Women's Electoral Lobby (1972- ), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 31 January 2013. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0021b.htm. Details
- Morrell, Elle and Henningham, Nikki, Street, Jessie Mary Grey (1889-1970), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 12 June 2009. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0013b.htm. Details
- Secomb, Robin, League of Women Voters of South Australia (1909-1979), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 29 April 2009. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0954b.htm. Details
- Secomb, Robin, Nicholls, Elizabeth Webb (1850-1943), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 16 November 2010. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0897b.htm. Details
- Tallis, Denise, Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia (1909-1997), The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 30 April 2009. http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0803b.htm. Details
- Allinson, Mary, Early women candidates for Parliament, Victoria 1924-1970, 2 edn, Leauge of Women Voters Victoria, Balwyn, Victoria, 2011. Details
- Davidson, Dianne, Women on the warpath : feminists of the first wave, University of Western Australia (UWA) Publishing, Nedlands, Western Australia, 1997. Details
- Encel, Sol; MacKenzie, Norman and Tebbutt, Margaret, Women and Society: An Australian Study, Cheshire Publishing, Melbourne, Victoria, 1974. Details
- Lake, Marilyn, Getting Equal: The History of Australian Feminism, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, New South Wales, 1999. Details
- Norris, Ada, Champions of the Impossible: A History of the National Council of Women of Victoria 1902-1977, Hawthorn Press, Melbourne, Victoria, 1978. Details
- Rischbieth, Bessie, March of Australian Women: A Record of Fifty Years' Struggle for Equal Citizenship, Paterson Brokensha, Perth, Western Australia, 1964. Details
- Roe, Jill, Beyond Belief: Theosophy in Australia 1879 - 1939, The University of New South Wales (UNSW) Press, Kensington, New South Wales, 1986. Details
- Sawer, Marian, Women's Political History: A Guide to Sources, National Museum of Australia (NMA), Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, 1992. Details
- Lake, Marilyn, 'A History of Australian Feminism', in Barbara Caine (ed.), Australian Feminism: A Companion, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, Victoria, 1998, pp. 132 - 142. Details
- Smart, Judith and Quartly, Marian, 'Mainstream Women's Organisations in Australia: The Challenges of National and International Co-operation after the Great War', Women’s History Review, vol. 21, no. 1, 2012, pp. 61 - 79. Details
- 'Pan-Pacific Conference: Women's Enthusiasm', The West Australian, 19 September 1928, p. 17. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/32223869. Details
- 'Mrs. Jessie Street: Assurance to Lord Mayor', The West Australian, 28 April 1949, p. 17. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47659856. Details
- Hinder, Eleanor, 'Pan-Pacific Women: The Honolulu Conference', The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 August 1928, p. 14. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/16484016. Details
- Rischbieth, Bessie, 'Conference of Women', The West Australian, Correspondence: Letter to the editor, 3 May 1949, p. 20. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47660854. Details
- Rischbieth, Bessie M., 'Mrs. Rischbieth and Rome Congress', The West Australian, Letter to the editor, 31 October 1923, p. 5. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/31196828. Details
- Howe, Renate, Networks of Influence among Reformist Women in Melbourne, 2003. Details
- 'Australian Federation of Women Voters (1921 - 1982)', The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0117b.htm. Details
- Brown, Margaret, 'Cowan, Edith Dircksey (1861-1932)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (ANU), c.2006, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cowan-edith-dircksey-5791/text9823. Details
- Browne, Geoff, 'Weber, Ivy Lavinia (1892 - 1976)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (ANU), c.2006, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/weber-ivy-lavinia-9030. Details
- Brownfoot, Janice N., 'Goldstein, Vida Jane (1869-1949)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (ANU), c.2006, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/goldstein-vida-jane-6418/text10975. Details
- Fitzherbert, Margaret, 'Norris, Dame Ada May (1901-1989)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (ANU), c.2012, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/norris-dame-ada-may-14997. Details
- Foley, Meredith, 'Littlejohn, Emma Linda Palmer (1883 - 1949)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (ANU), c.2006, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/littlejohn-emma-linda-palmer-7208. Details
- Howe, Renate, 'Social Reform', in eMelbourne: The City Past and Present, The University of Melbourne: Department of History: School of Historical Studies, 25 February 2010, http://www.emelbourne.net.au/biogs/EM01391b.htm. Details
- Lake, Marilyn, Women's Changing Conception of Political Power, Papers on Parliament, Parliament of Australia, March 1997, http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Senate/Research_and_Education/pops/~/link.aspx?_id=D4C36577D9B24C928B424B01279719F7&_z=z. Details
- Lutton, Nancy, 'Rischbieth, Bessie Mabel (1874-1967)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (ANU), c.2006, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/rischbieth-bessie-mabel-8214/text14373. Details
- MacCallum, Monica, 'Sweet, Georgina (1875 - 1946)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (ANU), c.2006, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/sweet-georgina-8728/text15281. Details
- Morgan, Helen and Lemon, Barbara, 'Sweet, Georgina (1875 - 1946)', in The Australian Women's Register, Australian Women's Archives Project, 22 April 2009, http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/IMP0115b.htm. Details
- Mune, Marie, 'Nicholls, Elizabeth Webb (1850-1943)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (ANU), c.2006, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/nicholls-elizabeth-webb-7839/text13613. Details
- Radi, Heather, 'Street, Jessie Mary Grey (1889-1970)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (ANU), c.2006, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/street-jessie-mary-grey-11789. Details
- The Limits of Authorship: The Radio Broadcasts of Irene Greenwood,1936-1954, with Gillard, Garry, 25 March 1996, http://wwwmcc.murdoch.edu.au/ReadingRoom/Richo/Charter.html. Details
- Smart, Judith, 'Rapke, Julia Rachel (1886 - 1959)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (ANU), c.2006, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/rapke-julia-rachel-11489. Details
- Tate, Audrey, 'Rich, Ruby Sophia (1888-1988)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (ANU), c.2012, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/rich-ruby-sophia-14202/text25214. Details
- Ruby Rich interviewed by Hazel de Berg in the Hazel de Berg collection
- 4 June 1975
- National Library of Australia
- ORAL TRC 1/835-839
- National Library of Australia Oral History Collection
- Ruby Rich interviewed by Hazel de Berg for the Hazel de Berg collection
- 4 August 1976
- National Library of Australia
- ORAL TRC 1/954-955
- National Library of Australia Oral History Collection
- Ruby Rich interviewed by Hazel de Berg in the Hazel de Berg collection
- 12 December 1976 - 11 May 1977
- National Library of Australia
- ORAL TRC 1/994-995
- National Library of Australia Oral History Collection