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Rape Crisis Centre
(1976 – )

Educator, Feminist support service, Social change

The Adelaide Rape Crisis Centre was formed as an outgrowth of the Hindmarsh Women’s Community Centre, a free medical service for women. It became obvious after a short time that a separate service was needed, given the number of women reporting past rapes and the lack of available services. The founders of the Rape Crisis Centre had three main purposes: 1) to support women after the rape, 2) to change attitudes to rape and 3) to teach self defence. They organised the first ‘Reclaim the Night March’ in Adelaide. The group made a submission to the Mitchell Report on Rape and Other Sexual Offences.

Ms Print
(1979 – 1983)


Ms Print was established to provide inexpensive quality women’s work, to print women’s artistic work and to run workshops for sharing experiences. It operated out of the Women’s Studies Resource Centre from 1979 to 1983.

(1980 – )

Radio broadcasting

5 MMM was a public radio broadcaster that presented a number of women’s programs, including; Women’s Weekly, and Sunday Monthly . The programs had female presenters at a time when commercial stations did not. The women produced, wrote, presented and were the audio engineers. A small collective organised the programs’ content, time lines and themes. The station became 3D radio in 1988.

Unemployed Women’s Union
(1980 – 1981)

Feminist organisation, Social action organisation

The Unemployed Women’s Union was a response to the economic downturn of 1980. The members wanted to debunk the myth of married women who were working as the cause of unemployment, to defend the right for all women to work, and to act as a support group for unemployed women. They picketed employers, published a newsletter, spoke at rallies, wrote letters to newspapers and politicians, and applied for jobs en masse.

International Women’s Day Collective
(1974 – )

Event organiser, Social awareness organisation

The International Women’s Day (IWD) Collective is not to be confused with the IWD Committee which was formed in 1938. The IWD Collective was formed by the second wave feminists and was concerned with the IWD March; the festival or picnic after the march and the IWD Dance. They organised themes for the day and speakers. They also produced posters, badges and t-shirts.

Feminist Anti-Nuclear Group (FANG)
(1982 – 1984)

Anti-nuclear group, Feminist organisation, Peace organisation

Feminist Anti-Nuclear Group (FANG) was formed in November 1982, initially as an organisation which enabled women to demonstrate their solidarity with the women of the Greenham Common Peace Camp.

Central to FANG’s philosophy was a non-hierarchical structure, where women were free to feel empowered and express their desire to work toward the common goals of peace, social justice and a nuclear-free future.

The group organised several actions, including a peace camp at the US Base at Smithfield, and a 2-week vigil in support of the Pine Gap Peace Camp. The group also coordinated women’s only spaces at Roxby Downs actions, as well as information and film nights to educate women about worldwide peace movements and anti-nuclear actions, to educate its members about non-violent direct action techniques.

Hindmarsh Women’s Community Health Centre
(1974 – 1989)

Health service

Hindmarsh Women’s Community Health Centre was the first women’s health centre in South Australia. The Women’s Liberation Movement recognised the need for a separate women’s health centre from the number of health related calls and personal enquiries it received and lobbied the government for assistance. Funding was granted in 1974 and 6 Mary St, Hindmarsh was officially open in 1976. The Health Centre became a teaching centre for women’s health in late 1975 and produced pamphlets on both general and gynaecological health. The Rape Crisis Centre evolved from the Health Centre.

Funding came through the state government and as a result there were some clashes between the bureaucracy and the feminist executive over how the centre should be run. This was further complicated by the clashing politics of the various feminist groups involved in the centre, which was run by a feminist collective. Conflict with the State Health Department eventually lead to the withdrawal of funding.

After the intervention of the Women’s Adviser to the Premier, who argued the case for the need for specialised women’s health services, the centre was moved to North Adelaide and became Women’s Health Statewide. The Centre then became known as the Welling Place, providing alternative health including a vegetable patch for the community. 6 Mary St was demolished in 1989 to make way for the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

AIF Women’s Association
(1940 – 1946)

Community organisation

The AIF Women’s Association was established in 1940, by the wives of six service officers. The main purpose was to bring together, in fellowship and understanding, the womenfolk of the men on active service so that they could help each other in time of need. The Melbourne City Council provided rent-free premises at 437, and later 435A, Collins Street Melbourne. Here the women could seek assistance or advice, have a cup of tea or leave a child while attending the doctor, dentist or an urgent appointment.

Country Women’s Association of Australia
(1945 – )

Community organisation

The Country Women’s Association of Australia was founded on 7 June 1945. Delegates from the six State Country Women’s Associations, voted to form the national body. The purpose of the newly-formed body was to: “enable Country Women’s Associations throughout Australia to speak with one voice on all national matters, more especially concerning the welfare of country women and children”. The first state branch of the organisation had been formed in New South Wales in 1922. All other mainland states followed suit by 1928 with the Tasmanian branch being founded in 1936. It is a non-sectarian, non-party-political, non-profit lobby group working in the interests of women and children in rural areas. Given its national scope, large membership and longevity, it was arguably the most influential Australian women’s organisation of the twentieth century.

As of 2004, the Association comprises44,000 members and 1855 branches. It is the largest women’s organization in Australia.

Alexandra Club
(1903 – )

In 1903 some of the 260 members of the Wattle Club decided to expand their activities. At a meeting held on the 4th of August that year, members voted to carry the motion: ‘That the name of the Wattle Club be changed to “Alexandra Club”.

According to Monica Starke, author of The Alexandra Club: A Narrative 1903-1983, Rule 1 of the Club states categorically: ‘The name of the Club shall be the Alexandra Club and it shall be exclusively for social and non-political purposes’. The only quality sought in a prospective candidate was – and is – that she should be ‘clubable’.

KarraKatta Club
(1894 – )

Author Monica Starke writes in the publication The Alexandra Club:

“The honour of being the first women’s club in Australia belongs to the Karrakatta Club, founded in Perth in 1894… The inspiration for the club came from Dr Emily Ryder, a visiting American who was so impressed by the standard of the books studied by the St George’s Reading Circle and the members’ ability in debate that she suggested the formation of a club modelled on the Education Clubs that were popular with American women. A well-attended meeting, convened by two distinguished members of the teaching profession, unanimously voted to form a club on the lines explained to them by Dr Ryder. Sociability would not have been ruled out as an aim but Dr Ryder obviously envisaged an active role in public affairs for the new club since she warned that ‘ridicule would be cast on the club but they must make up their minds to live down opposition and ignore ridicule’. With this attractive future predicted for it the Karrakatta Club set off bravely with thirty-eight foundation members and four departments: hygiene, literature, arts and, as an afterthought, because of the continuing battle for the enfranchisement of women, legal and educational.”

YWCA of Australia

Community organisation

The vision of the YWCA of Australia is of a fully inclusive world where peace, justice, freedom, human dignity, reconciliation and diversity are promoted and sustained through women’s leadership.

The YWCA of Australia is a women’s membership organisation nourished by its roots in the Christian faith and sustained by the richness of many beliefs and values. Strengthened by diversity the YWCA draws together members who strive to create opportunities for growth, leadership and empowerment in order to attain a common vision: peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people. In Australia, the YWCA is represented in over 45 locations in all States and Territories, and currently delivers services to more than a quarter of a million women, men and children each year, throughout rural, regional and metropolitan Australia. The YWCAs of Australia provide services in youth; childcare; health; housing; emergency accommodation and travel accommodation.

Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific (SISWP)

Voluntary organisation

Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific (SISWP) is one of four federations in the world’s largest classified service organization for business and professional women. Soroptimist International has more than 100,000 members in 3,000 clubs in over 100 countries and territories.

Soroptimists are executive women of all ages, cultures and ethnic groups who work through a Programme of Service to make a difference for women throughout the world.

Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS)
(1941 – 1947)

Armed services organisation

The Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) was established on 13 August 1941, to release men from certain military duties for service with fighting units. The Service recruited women between the ages of 18 and 45 and they served in a variety of roles including clerks, typists, cooks and drivers. In 1945 a contingent was sent to Lae and a small group went to Holland. In June 1947, owing to the end of World War II, the AWAS was disbanded.

Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders
(1958 – 1978)

The Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders developed out of a conference of interested groups who met in Adelaide in 1958. The meeting resulted in in the formation of the Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement and the election of the executive. Membership was opened to Aboriginal advancement organisations and to other organisations which supported the Council’s platform to repeal discriminatory legislation at state and federal levels; amend the federal constitution to enable the Commonwealth Government to legislate for Aborigines; improve the lives of Aboriginal people through housing, equal pay, education and adequate rations in remote areas; and advocate land rights. In 1964, the organisation was renamed to include Torres Strait Islanders in the title, becoming the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.

One of FCAATSI’s major campaigns was for constitutional change, which was instrumental in establishing the 1967 Referendum. FCAATSI membership was divided in 1970, after motions were put to reserve membership of the executive and voting rights at general meetings to people of Aboriginal or Islander descent. The National Tribal Council, run by and for Indigenous Australians, was subsequently formed as a separate organisation. In March 1978 FCAATSI changed its name to the National Aboriginal and Islander Liberation Movement, but this organisation never met. The same year, the federal government cut funding to the organisation, and it was disbanded.

One People of Australia League
(1961 – )

Social action organisation

The One People of Australia League (OPAL) was established in 1961 as an Aboriginal advancement organisation based in Queensland. The OPAL Centre opened in Brisbane in 1971, providing social activities and support as well as publishing a quarterly journal (1966 – 1975).

OPAL’s early membership was predominantly mainstream and Christian and its goals were ‘assimilationist.’ However, these goals were modified in 1975, moving away from assimilation to a focus on fostering ‘cooperation’ between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.

Source: Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia.

The Dame Marjorie Parker Creche
(1945 – )


The creche was named after its Founder, President and Patron Dame Marjorie Parker.

Rachel Forster Hospital for Women and Children
(1925 – 1963)


The New Hospital for Women was renamed the Rachel Forster Hospital for Women and Children when it was relocated to Redfern in 1925. The original hospital was co-founded by Dr Lucy Gullett and opened in January 1922. The Hospital was recognised as a public hospital in 1931.

In 1963 the name was changed to the Rachel Foster Hospital and four years later the first all-male ward was opened.

Petersham Girls’ Intermediate High School
(1913 – 1938)

Petersham Girl’s Intermediate High School was opened in January 1913. However, the school closed in December 1938 and was converted to a public school the following year.

In January 1965, Petersham was once again converted to a girls’ high school. Petersham amalgamated with Newtown Boys’ High School in 1990 to form the Newtown High Scholol of Performing Arts.

Tintern Girls Grammar School
(1911 – 1918)

Tintern Ladies College was renamed Tintern Girls Grammar School in 1911. The School was purchased by the Church of England in 1918 and was thus renamed the Tintern Church of England Girls’ Grammar School.

Tintern Anglican Girls Grammar School
(1999 – 2001)

In 1999 Tintern Schools was formed with two campuses: Tintern Anglican Girls Grammar School and Southwood Boys Grammar School.

N.S.W. Association of University Women Graduates
(1959 – 1974)

At a General Meeting on 9 July 1959, a motion was passed to change the name of the Sydney University Women Graduates’ Association to the the N.S.W. Association of University Women Graduates. The change of name was not reflected in the Sydney University Calendar until 1961.

According to the 1961 Calendar, the ‘N.S.W. Association of University Women Graduates exist[ed]… to co-operate, through the Australian Federation of University Women, with the International Federation of University Women’ as well as to ‘further such interests as university women in N.S.W. have in common and to encourage women graduates to take an active interest in the universities in N.S.W.’

At the General Meeting on 28 June 1974, a decision was made to change the name of the Association to the Australian Federation of University Women – New South Wales.

Australian Federation of University Women – N.S.W.
(1974 – 2009)

In mid-1974 the N.S.W. Association of University Women Graduates was renamed the Australian Federation of University Women – N.S.W.

Presumably, the New South Wales branch of the Australian Federation of University Women changed its name in 2009, at the same time the national body became the Australian Federation of Graduate Women (AFGW).

Sydney University Women Graduates’ Association
(1920 – 1959)

In 1920 the Women’s Council was renamed the Sydney University Women Graduates’ Association. The newly-renamed Association became part of the Australian Federation of University Women, which was affiliated with the International Federation of University Women.

According to the University of Sydney Calendar of 1920, the ‘Association exists to further such interests as University women have in common, and to encourage its members to take an active interest in the University, and in such national and international affairs as may be considered of special important to all University women.’

The name of the Sydney University Women Graduates’ Assocation was changed to the N.S.W. Association of University Women Graduates in 1959.

Sydney University Women’s Association
(1892 – 1909)

The Sydney University Women’s Association was founded in May 1892 by Louisa MacDonald. The aim of the Association was to bring ‘all women Graduates and Undergraduates together from time to time for social and intellectual purposes, and of taking cognizance of all matters affecting their well-being.’

Sydney University Women’s Council
(1915 – 1920)

The Sydney University Women’s Union was renamed the Sydney University Women’s Council in 1915. Another Women’s Union was formed within the University around this same time.

Sydney University Women’s Union
(1910 – 1914)

The Sydney University Women’s Association was renamed the Sydney University Women’s Union in approximately 1910.