• Entry type: Organisation
  • Entry ID: AWE0541

Women’s Political Association of Victoria

(From 1903 – 1919)
  • Occupation Social action organisation


The Women’s Federal Political Association, the forerunner of the Women’s Political Association, was established in 1903, with Vida Goldstein as president, to educate women in political matters. Men were not excluded from membership. In March 1904 it changed its name to the Women’s Political Association of Victoria with the aim of organising more efficiently women’s votes in the interests of the home and children, of efficient government at all levels, and of improved social and industrial conditions. In an attempt to challenge the party ticket system, the WPA declared itself to be non party political and refused to affiliate with any political party, although its sympathies lay with the Australian Labor Party. Goldstein believed that party politics subsumed the interests of women. The WPA supported Goldstein in her attempts to be elected to the federal parliament and adopted a pacifist stance in World War One. It disbanded in 1919 when Goldstein travelled overseas.

Published resources

  • Book
    • That dangerous and persuasive woman: Vida Goldstein, Bomford, Janette M., 1993
    • The Goldstein Story, Henderson, Leslie M. (Leslie Moira), 1973
    • Radical Melbourne : a secret history, Sparrow, Jeff and Sparrow, Jill, 2001
  • Thesis
    • Women in protest movements: the Women's Peace Army and the Save Our Sons Movement., Francis, Rosemary, 1984
    • The role of certain women and women's organisations in politics in New South Wales and Victoria between 1900 and 1920., Cookson, Rachel, 1959
    • Women's Political Association (1903-1919): a study in militant feminism., Nicholls, Michelle, 1971
  • Journal
    • The Woman Voter, Goldstein, Vida, 1909-1919
  • Book Section
    • The lady politician: Vida Goldstein's first Senate campaign, Bomford, Janette, 1996
    • The Great War and the 'scarlet scourge': Debates about venereal diseases in Melbourne during World War 1, Smart, Judith, 1992
    • Jennie Baines: Suffrage and an Australian Connection, Smart, Judith, 2000
  • Journal Article
    • Feminists, labour women and venereal disease in early twentieth century Melbourne, Smart, Judith, 1992
    • The Enthusiasms of Adela Pankhurst Walsh, Damousi, Joy, 1993
  • Resource

Archival resources

  • National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection
    • Papers on various Australian women [19--] [manuscript]
    • Papers of Baron Henry Stafford Northcote, 1908 [manuscript]
    • Correspondence 1897-1919 [manuscript]
    • Papers of Leslie M. Henderson, circa 1880-1961 [manuscript]
    • Vida Goldstein 1869-1949 January 1966 [manuscript]
  • State Library of Victoria
    • The Goldstein chronicle, [between 1950 and 1973]. [manuscript].
    • Press cuttings book presented to Edith How Martyn, 1943. [manuscript].
    • Letters, diaries and lectures
  • National Library of Australia
    • [Biographical cuttings on Vida Goldstein, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]
    • [Collection of newspaper cuttings relating to her candidature for the Federal Senate in 1903]

Related entries

  • Membership
    • Pankhurst, Adela Constantia Mary (1885 - 1961)
    • Blackburn, Doris Amelia (1889 - 1970)
  • Founder
    • Goldstein, Vida (1869 - 1949)
  • Related Organisations
    • Women's Peace Army (1915 - 1919)
  • Related Concepts
    • Woman Suffrage
    • Women's Non-party Political Organisations
  • Related Cultural Artefacts
    • Storey Hall (1887 - )
  • Member
    • John, Cecilia Annie (1877 - 1955)
    • Booth, Angela Elizabeth Josephine (1869 - 1954)
    • Weeks, Clara (1852 - 1937)
  • Vice President
    • Guérin, Julia Margaret (Bella) (1858 - 1923)