• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE4105

Macdonald, Amelia Morrison Fraser

(1865 – 1946)
  • Born 17 June, 1865, Blackburn Linlithgowshire Scotland
  • Died 31 August, 1946, Subiaco Western Australia Australia
  • Occupation Church worker, Social reformer, Tailoress, Women's rights activist


Born, educated and married in Scotland, Amelia Macdonald migrated to Australia in 1887, living first in Sydney where, for nine years, she ran a tailoring business. In 1896 she and her husband, Alexander, moved to Perth, where she lived for the rest of her life.

Her own experience of losing her mother at an early age, along with that of her niece who was orphaned as a young woman, no doubt made her acutely aware of the precariousness of women’s fortunes, and how intricately connected they were to those of men. Macdonald spent all her adult life working towards untangling these connections and reforming the legal, educational and social structures that operated to oppress women and children.

Connected to the church (she taught Anglican Sunday School classes), she was also deeply influenced by the ideas of the Theosophists. Their guiding ideals of spiritual force, service, social reform, universal education and equal citizenship provided the platform for the Women’s Services Guilds Of Western Australia, an organisation Macdonald helped to establish in 1909. She was also important on the establishment of the National Council of women in W.A. and she supported the Workers’ Educational Association and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.

Published resources

Archival resources

  • State Library of Western Australia
    • Minute books, 1935-1937 [manuscript]
    • Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia records
    • Papers, 1909-1991 [manuscript]
    • Papers, 1920-1944 [manuscript]
  • Australian Historic Records Register
    • Girl Guides Association, WA (Inc.)

Related entries

  • Foundation member
    • National Council of Women of Western Australia (1911 - )
    • Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia (1909 - 1997)
  • Related Women
    • Jull, Roberta Henrietta Margaritta (1872 - 1961)
    • Beadle, Jean (1867 - 1942)
    • Johnston, Isabella Jane (1891 - 1976)
    • Chase, Muriel Jean Eliot (1880 - 1936)
    • Cowan, Edith Dircksey (1861 - 1932)
    • Rischbieth, Bessie Mabel (1874 - 1967)
  • Supporter
    • Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Western Australia (1892 - )
  • Related Organisations
    • Girl Guides Australia (1926 - )