• Entry type: Organisation
  • Entry ID: AWE0958

Housewives Association (Australia) South Australian Division

(From 1926 – )
  • Occupation Lobby group, Membership organisation, Women's Rights Organisation


The Housewives Association (Australia) South Australian Division was formed in 1926 Its foundation president was Agnes Goode. The Association’s aims were to ‘support, protect and raise the status and interests of the home, women and children; to promote and establish co-operation among housewives; to oppose profiteering in every practical manner; to encourage the greater use of Australian-made goods’. (Housewife, April 1929) The nature of their aims meant that they were politically active. For instance in 1929 then President, Leonora Polkinghorne, protested against increases to the price of gas by warning them that members would vote against them in the next election. She also stood as an Independent for Sturt in the 1930 election backed by the Women’s Non-Party Political Association but was unsuccessful. The Association also had a monthly publication called the Housewife, and spoke regularly on the ABC radio station


In support of their aims, the Association lobbied politicians, canvassed support door-to-door; appeared before government enquiries. The Association was non-party political, and included women who were active in both the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Liberal Union, and supported their efforts to stand for Parliament. These organisations lobbied governments on a wide range of important issues, and succeeded in achieving some notable legislative reforms.
They lobbied on:
• Changes to the minimum age of marriage for girls. As late as 1927, this was 12 years.
• Equal rights for women in the guardianship and custody of children.
• Equal pay for women.


Published resources

  • Newsletter
    • The Housewife, The Housewives' Association, South Australian Division, 1929-1961
  • Periodical
    • Homemaker : the official organ of the Housewives Assn. of S.A, Housewives Association (Australia). South Australian Division
  • Pamphlet
    • A Full statement of the case in support of the restoration in South Australia of manufacturers' free gift offers and trading stamp discount coupons / presented on behalf of the Housewives' Association, South Australian Division and 10,000 petitioners affiliated with the Committee of the South Australian Women's Trading Benefits Promotion League, [1936]
  • Book
    • Fresh evidence, new witnesses : finding women's history, Allen, Margaret (Margaret Ellen), 1947- ; Hutchison, Mary and Mackinnon, Alison, 1942-, 1989
    • In her own name. A history of women in South Australia from 1836, Helen Jones, 1986
  • Edited Book
    • Women in Australia : an annotated guide to records, Daniels, Kay, Murnane, Mary, Picot, Anne and National Research Program (Australia), 1977
  • Journal Article
    • The South Australian division of the Housewives' Association: Foundation years 1926-1934., Donovan, Ruth, 2000
  • Resource

Archival resources

  • State Library of South Australia
    • Housewives Association, S.A. Division : SUMMARY RECORD

Related entries

  • Related Organisations
    • Housewives Association of Victoria (1915 - )
    • West Australian Housewives' Association (1920 - 1984)
    • Housewives Association of New South Wales (1918 - )
  • Member
    • Russell, Kathleen (1911 - 2005)
  • Affiliated
    • Federated Association of Australian Housewives (1923 - )