• Entry type: Organisation
  • Entry ID: AWE4875

The Business and Professional Women’s Club of Canberra

(From 1954 – )
  • Occupation Lobby group, Professional Association, Women's Rights Organisation


The Business and Professional Women’s Club of Canberra formed in 1954, affiliated to the Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women (now BPW Australia) which had formed in 1947, which was in turn part of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women which had formed in Geneva in 1930. The Club remained active until the 1990s, with separate clubs for Woden and Belconnen meeting in the 1980s.


The inaugural meeting of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Canberra was held at the Hotel Civic on 9 April 1954 – the office bearers were elected at the Annual General Meeting on 12 July – President Betty Jackson, Vice-Presidents Mrs Chandler and Kitty Peisley, Secretary Dr M Granger. Other women prominent in the early years were Jean and Isabel Sheaffe, Sister Sylvia Curley, Joan Binns, Heather Shakespeare, and Margaret Timpson (President 1970-1971, 1985).

The objects of the Club were to promote the interests of business and professional women, to awaken and encourage in them a realisation of responsibilities in their own country and consequently world affairs, to raise and maintain standards of education and training of women, and to work for the removal of sex discrimination in remuneration, opportunities for women in employment and selection for office and promotion in all positions for which women are qualified by their skill and training.

Representations were made to the government regarding equal pay, equal employment and training opportunities, superannuation, and family law reform, and the 1985 National Women’s Tax Summit was jointly sponsored with the Women’s Electoral Lobby and other women’s organisations. Among speakers to monthly meetings were politicians, diplomats, and academics on current political and international affairs. Meetings also provided opportunities for networking and social activities. The Canberra club also sponsored prizes for nurses, stenographers and book-keepers, and scholarships for young women completing year 10 in secondary school.

The Canberra club was initially under the NSW Division, and a separate ACT Division was formed in 1987 with the original Canberra club and two new clubs in Woden and Belconnen which had first met in 1985.


Published resources

  • Book
    • The Business and Professional Women's Club of Canberra, 1954-1985, Clark, Coralie, 1991
  • Site Exhibition

Archival resources

  • Noel Butlin Archives Centre, Australian National University
    • Business and Professional Women's Club of Canberra Records deposit

Related entries

  • Member
    • Curley, Sylvia (1898 - 1999)
  • Affiliated
    • BPW Australia (1947 - )
  • Related Women
    • Stevenson, Mary (1896 - 1985)