• Entry type: Organisation
  • Entry ID: AWE1060

BPW Perth Club

(From 1946 – )
  • Occupation Lobby group, Professional Association, Women's Rights Organisation


The Business and Professional Women’s Club of Perth (later BPW Perth Club) was founded in 1946, largely due to the efforts of Clara Behrend (an advertising executive) who had been a member of the Club in Melbourne. She organised a meeting at which some 30 women joined the new Club and the lawyer Margaret Battye was elected president. Membership grew rapidly, reaching 148 by 1958, but was only open to women who earned a salary or were self employed. Early members included teachers, nurses and hairdressers as well as business managers and other professionals.

Its activities were initially mainly social, but in the 1950s the Club took part in campaigns for equal pay, and also took an interest in broader social issues such as gambling, facilities for disabled children and new migrants, as well as fund raising for various causes. They became increasingly focussed on improving women’s working conditions and increasing their career prospects. It has campaigned on inequalities in superannuation and for affirmative action. It has investigated facilities for women returning to work and encouraged girls to take up non-traditional employment. Like other such clubs, it was explicitly founded to provide a space for women’s networking, and to work for their professional interests.

Published resources

  • Book
    • The first 25 years, B.P.W. Australia: The History of the Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Thoms, Patience R, comp, 1972
    • The Business and Professional Women's Club of Perth : Perth : the first half century : 1946-1996, Herbert, Penny A., 1996
    • Our story: B.P.W. Bunbury 30th : 1969-1999, Wright, Maureen, 1999
  • Edited Book
    • A history of the clubs of the Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Eagle, Vera J., 1976
  • Newsletter
    • B.P.W. News, 1961-
    • Bunbury B.P.W. Bulletin, 1970[?]-[?]
  • Resource

Archival resources

  • State Library of Western Australia
    • Minutes, 1966-1988 [manuscript]
    • Minute books, 1946-1966 [manuscript]
    • Papers, 1882-1966 [manuscript]
  • Noel Butlin Archives Centre, Australian National University
    • Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women deposit
    • Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women Victorian Division deposit

Related entries

  • Affiliated
    • BPW Australia (1947 - )
  • President
    • Battye, Margaret (1909 - 1949)