Theme National Councils of Women

Written by Judith Smart, The University of Melbourne/RMIT University and Marian Quartly, Monash University

A major step in the development of 20th-century Australian women's non-party political activism and leadership was the formation of National Councils of Women (NCW) in all states between 1896 and 1910 - New South Wales in 1896, Tasmania in 1899, Victoria in 1902, South Australia in the same year (collapsed 1909, reconstituted 1920), Queensland in 1905 and Western Australia in 1911. Each was affiliated separately to the International Council of Women (ICW) until the formation of the National Council of Women of Australia (NCWA) in 1931. The NCWA was preceded by interstate conferences from as early as 1902, by agreements on federation for purposes of financial and representation arrangements with the ICW dating from 1906, and by a federal council formed over the period 1924-1925 (Smart & Quartly, 2009). But the process was slow, reluctant and tentative, and the final establishment of a federal organisation did not prevent some persisting structural conflicts and disputes about representation within and between states.

The most notable of these concerned Tasmanian organisational structures when NCWA recognised the Launceston branch as an autonomous Council after discussion at a series of conferences between 1946 and 1952. This resulted in long-term hostilities between Launceston and the Hobart-based state Council, aggravated by the fact that the only NCWA Tasmanian president, Dorothy Edwards (1960-1964) ('Stirrers with Style'), represented the Launceston branch, not the state Council. The conflict was only partially resolved by the creation in 2001 of the NCW Coalition (Tasmania) Incorporated (NCWA Papers, MS07-096, Box 21; Smart & Quartly, 2007). A continuing issue for the Western Australian Council's relations with NCWA was distance, which delayed affiliation till 1932 (NCWWA Minutes, 27 June 1932; Sher, 42-4), and it was not until the 1990s that NCWWA felt it could manage communications effectively enough to take on national leadership of the Councils. In the intervening decades, NCWA expansion saw territorial Councils formed in the Australian Capital Territory in 1939 (Stephenson, 5) and in the Northern Territory in 1964. Distance remained a problem for the Darwin-based Council, along with population mobility, and it has since disbanded. By the early 1970s, the Australian Council claimed to speak for over a million Australian women through the affiliates of its constituent state Councils. While NCWA no longer represents the majority of organised women in Australia, it has continued to be effective into the 21st Century and is now a member of the Equality Rights Alliance, one of the six National Women's Alliances funded by the federal government since 2010 (FAHCSIA website; NCWA website).

The National Councils of Women have been the broadest ranging of Australia's non-party political women's organisations. From the outset, the Councils took the form of umbrella or peak groups, encouraging affiliation from all other women's organisations to discuss matters of common interest, to gather information and to learn from each other in order to promote peace and general wellbeing, but especially the wellbeing of women and children. The motto of all the Australian Councils, taken from the ICW, was and remains the Christian Golden Rule-'Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you' (Van Molle & Gubin, 16). The Councils' breadth of membership has not lessened their commitment to lobbying for the major components of the mainstream liberal feminist agenda, expressed as the promotion of 'equal status of women and men in law and in fact' (NCWA website), but it has meant that their leaders have had to avoid particularly contentious issues and adopt a middle-of-the-road approach to most others. This has involved cooperative policy development, usually through specialist standing committees that have paralleled ICW structures and followed consultative processes. In the Councils' early years, failure to work cooperatively or making decisions that deviated too far from the centre caused division and the formation of new coalitions, especially in the years during and following World War I. In more recent decades, impatience with the slowness of Council processes and their apparent conservatism has also seen the diminution of their claim to broad representation and a resulting decline in their influence, especially since the growth of second-wave feminism from the 1970s.

The broad world-wide Council concept had been the brainchild of two American women leaders, suffragist Susan B. Anthony and fellow activist May Wright Sewall. In June 1887, Anthony issued an international call to 'all women of light and learning, to all associations of women in trades, professions and reforms, as well as to those advocating political rights' (quoted by Rupp, 15), to come together on 25 March 1888 at a conference celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the American women's Equal Rights Convention held at Seneca Falls in 1848. The ideal, to form an international women's movement that went beyond political rights and reflected all the interests of women engaged in public work, was summed up by Sewall as the 'Council Idea'. The ICW's American founders took advantage of the Chicago World exhibition in 1893 to organise the largest and most representative gathering of women yet held anywhere in the world to start planning the structure of the envisaged permanent forum 'where all the great questions that concern humanity shall be discussed from the woman's point of view' (Offen).

Margaret Windeyer (Radi, ADB), a NSW commissioner to the Chicago World exhibition, brought the idea back to Australia and formed the first Council in Sydney in 1896. Having played her part as founder, Windeyer stepped aside in favour of the state governor's wife, Lady Hampden, and other leading figures in the women's movement, such as Rose Scott (Allen, ADB; Carter, AWR) and Maybanke Wolstenholme (Kingston, ADB; Lemon, 'Anderson', AWR). Similarly, the early presidents in most of the other states were vice-regal wives, with the governor general's wife usually acting as patron for all of the Councils. Some of these women, such as Lady Gertrude Denman (Lemon & Russell, 'Denman', AWR) and Lady Rachel Forster, were quite interventionist and influential in pointing the Councils in new directions. Other leaders, as with NSW's Scott and Wolstenholme, came from the ranks of women's rights organisations; they included Vida Goldstein (Brownfoot, ADB; Land & Carey, AWR) and Evelyn Gough in Victoria, Catherine Spence (Eade, ADB; Land, 'Spence', AWR) and Rose Birks (Woods, ADB; Secomb, AWR) in South Australia, and Edith Cowan (Brown, ADB; Francis, 'Cowan', AWR) and Bessie Rischbieth (Lutton, ADB; Heywood, 'Rischbieth', AWR) in Western Australia. Founders and early leaders also included representatives of well-established lobby organisations such as the Woman's Christian Temperance Union; among them were Annie Carvosso and Agnes Williams in Queensland and Margaret McLean (Hyslop, ADB; Colwill, AWR) in Victoria. Others came from the local social élite and played an even more significant early role. As the wives of landowners, politicians and businessmen, these women were the nearest thing that Australia had to an aristocracy, and, during their frequent visits 'Home' to London, they moved in the same exclusive circles as the aristocratic women who led Britain's NCW. Moreover, their wealth enabled them to travel and act as delegates to the conferences of the ICW. Emily Dobson (Reynolds, ADB; Carey & Lemon, 'Dobson', AWR; 'Stirrers with Style'), founder, long-term leader and patron of NCW Tasmania, and Janet Lady Clarke (Morrissey, ADB; Carey & Lemon, 'Clarke', AWR) first president of the Victorian Council, exemplify these élite colonials. While Clarke soon abrogated responsibility, Dobson was to be of particular importance to the development of the Council movement in Australia (helping to form four of the state councils) and to its links with the ICW as the president of the Australian delegation from 1904 to 1920 and ICW vice-president from 1914 to 1924. Without her knowledge, enthusiasm, authority and willingness to travel interstate and overseas, it is unlikely that the Australian Councils would have survived, let alone maintained links with the ICW and each other, before the 1920s.

But it needed a new group of leaders to persuade the state Councils to federate, the key figures among them being Victoria's Lillias Skene (Smart, 'Skene', ADB; Carey, AWR; 'Stirrers with Style') and Eleanor Glencross (Foley, ADB; Carey & Heywood, 'Glencross', AWR) and NSW's Mildred Muscio (Foley & Fulloon, ADB; Lemon, 'Muscio', AWR; 'Stirrers with Style'). They and those who followed them when the NCWA came into being represented the growing influence of women with professional qualifications, work experience and party-political expertise, though social status retained some significance. As early as the mid-1930s, NCWA elected Adelaide Miethke (Edgar & Jones, ADB; Land, 'Miethke', AWR; 'Stirrers with Style'), a full-time school inspector in South Australia, to the presidency. But, in the early 50s, the president was Ivy Brookes (Patrick, ADB; Wilkinson & Lemon, AWR; 'Stirrers with Style'), undoubtedly a member of Victoria's social élite, though she was also an experienced organiser and political activist. Over time, it is clear that professional, political and organisational experience became more important to NCWA leadership, but concurrent engagement in paid work was exceptional. Though most of the presidents have worked for a living at some stage in their lives, only three-Adelaide Miethke (1936-1942), Ruth Gibson (1952-1956) (Fletcher, ADB; Heywood, 'Gibson', ADB; 'Stirrers with Style') and Laurel Macintosh (1979-1982) ('Stirrers with Style')-did so while simultaneously leading the NCWA. While they may not themselves always have had professional qualifications, NCWA leaders increasingly sought out the assistance of qualified experts. For example, as the body of women lawyers expanded in the 20th century, the Councils called on these women's advice on a number of matters, most notably marriage and divorce law. Among the legal women who periodically gave counsel and sometimes convened standing committees on laws in the early and middle decades were Flos Grieg (Campbell & Hack, ADB), Anna Brennan (Campbell & Morgen, ADB; Francis & Heywood, AWR), Sibyl Morrison (O'Brien, ADB), Joan Rosanove (Falk, ADB; Lemon, 'Rosanove', AWR), Molly Kingston and Roma Mitchell (Heywood, 'Mitchell', AWR). The last decades of the 20th century and the first years of this century saw the trend towards professionalism in the Councils intensify. Presidents and conveners of standing committees found themselves writing submissions to governments and other bodies, applying for project grants, justifying expenditure and reporting on outcomes. Representing the interests of Australian women became a full-time (unpaid) occupation. At the international level, the same pressures applied. Australian presidents and others who undertook positions with the ICW-among them Necia Mocatta ('Stirrers with Style'), Eleanor Sumner and Judith Parker ('Stirrers with Style')-found themselves working as unpaid officers of international agencies.

NCWA's critics have characterised the Councils as conservative, and, while this can be challenged in terms of their undoubted commitment to gender equality and legal reform, it has certainly been an accurate description of their alignment in terms of party politics. Of the twenty national presidents who held office between 1931 and 2000, nine were members of the Liberal Party (or its predecessors). For example, the first president, May Moss (Norris, ADB; Heywood, 'Moss', AWR; 'Stirrers with Style'), had been a vice-president of the powerful Australian Women's National League in Victoria and Ivy Brookes, elected in 1948, was a scion of Australian political royalty (as the daughter of Alfred Deakin). She led the Women's Section of the Commonwealth Liberal Party to 1916 and was influential in Robert Menzies' new Liberal Party after World War II ('Stirrers with Style'). The proportion of such politically aligned leaders in the 20th century increased markedly after 1973 to six out of nine, or two-thirds of the total. Some, like Maureen Giddings, Margaret Davey and Necia Mocatta (all in 'Stirrers with Style'), have held senior Liberal Party positions and one, Victoria's Gracia Baylor, had earlier been a Liberal member of the state parliament (Francis, 'Baylor', AWR; 'Stirrers with Style'). In the current century, Leonie Christopherson (2003-2006) ('Stirrers with Style') has also been prominent in the Women's Sections of the party. Further, until the 1970s, nearly all non-Labor women parliamentarians, both state and federal, had links with the Councils. In the early years of the century, Labor Party women's organisations were mostly forbidden to affiliate and, in later years, were generally disinclined to do so. But the broad and varied commitments of the NCWA and its international commitments have meant its leaders have co-operated with trade unionists in seeking equal pay for women and with second-wave feminists on family law reform and measures to counter domestic violence, and that they have generally worked hard to avoid party political bias, engaging as willingly with Labor governments as with non-Labor ones. Joyce McConnell (president 1973-1976) (Heywood, 'McConnell', AWR; 'Stirrers with Style'), for example, worked first with the Whitlam Labor government, and then with the Fraser conservative and Hawke Labor governments from 1976 to 1986, serving on both the National Women's Advisory Council and the National Women's Consultative Council (McConnell Papers).

NCWA presidents have frequently had to tread carefully between the suspicion of change among large sections of their affiliated membership and the progressive policies to which ICW affiliation committed them, and perhaps their greatest political achievement has been the gradual education of their own members in matters of gender equality. In this sense, the Councils as a whole have played a leadership role for women at state and federal levels, and, through affiliation to the ICW, at the level of international representation too. They have also been influential in representing Australia, first at the League of Nations and later at the United Nations Status of Women Commission (CSW). Notable among the women alternate delegates to the League in the 1920s and 30s were NCW leaders May Moss, Mildred Muscio and Elizabeth (May) Couchman (Smart, 'Couchman', ADB); at the UN, they included Elsie Byth (Heywood, 'Byth', AWR; 'Stirrers with Style'), Ruth Gibson and Ada Norris (Fitzherbert, ADB; Carey & Heywood, 'Norris', AWR) as official Australian delegates to CSW from the late 1940s to the 1960s.

How, then, have the women who have represented the views of Council to governments and other forums understood their leadership role and the best methods of putting the organisation's goals into operation? Fiona Davis, Nell Musgrove and Judith Smart have argued that women's leadership stories show there is no one way that women have led or will lead in the future, for leadership is both historically contingent-linked to social mores and changing legal and political institutions among other things-and related to individual experience, inclination, opportunity, belief, class and cultural preferences, as well as gender (Davis, Musgrove & Smart). The stories also show that, while women have challenged and questioned conventional hierarchical models of leadership, they have not necessarily adopted one clear alternative feminine style. And, although it is possible to detect a general preference for networking and collaboration, this has not been universal among 20th-century women leaders. The National Councils of Women developed in a period when leadership styles were less varied than they became from the 1970s, and the models available, even in politically radical feminist organisations, generally assumed a masculinist understanding of power and influence exercised by a dominant individual-or group of individuals-at the peak of an hierarchical pyramidal organisational structure.

In this context, it might be thought that the women who led the National Councils before the 1970s would assume that, because of their position as well as their social or expert status, where they led others would automatically follow. But because the Councils were coalitions and affiliation was voluntary, status did not always mean power, and rigid structures of authority had necessarily to be modified. From the inception of the ICW, it was recognised that, if the ideal of finding common cause among women was to be achieved, the limits of Council control over affiliates had to be defined and its political engagement circumscribed. The version of this principle in a recent Victorian NCW constitution reads: 'The Council is broadly based non party political and non sectarian, bringing together a wide range of community interests. Therefore, an organisation willing to become affiliated with Council shall remain to all intents and purposes autonomous beyond compliance with the terms of this Constitution'. The few occasions on which this principle has been flouted by leaders have resulted in serious division, with individuals and societies withdrawing affiliation, and the Council's leadership claims compromised, for example over support for conscription and opposition to peace activism in Victoria during World War I when the long-term vice-president, Janet Strong, felt obliged to resign and the Women's Political Association delegate (Adela Pankhurst) was expelled (Gray, 109-21). Similarly, in Western Australia, conflict with President Edith Cowan over contagious diseases legislation and authoritarian decision-making processes during the war years saw the departure of Bessie Rischbieth and the Women's Service Guild she led, as well as the Women's Labour Social Club and the WCTU (Sher, chap. 2). In the following decades, presidents and office-bearers mostly recognised that authoritarian methods of leadership and rigid operation of hierarchical chains of command would be counter-productive. Top-down solutions have thus been rare but, when resorted to, have caused dissent and loss of members, as when a coalition structure was super-imposed on the three Tasmanian Councils between 1999 and 2001 against the continuing opposition of the Hobart-based state Council.

Overall, however, loose federal structures as well as state constitutional limitations have restricted the degree of power NCW leaders have been able to exercise over affiliated branches and societies. This has encouraged flexibility and stressed the desirability of consensus, the leaders focusing on bringing members along with them rather than trying to force decisions upon them. Networking to evolve ideas and strategies with broad acceptance has been achieved through standing committees representing different affiliated societies and engaging in research and external consultation, even if inevitably a great deal of the final work of writing policy falls to the leaders and a few expert individuals. Sometimes this has been a difficult and slow process.

For example, on issues relating to marriage and divorce legislation, NCW leaders and official Council policy had long supported uniform Commonwealth legislation but, when at last it seemed possible in the 1950s, achieving consensus took delicate negotiation on the part of state presidents, then national president Ruth Gibson. The affiliates whose delegates made up these councils included organisations based in religious denominations, like the Catholic St Joan's Social and Political Alliance and the Anglican Mothers' Union-both totally opposed to any federal divorce legislation. The St Joan's Alliance feared that federal action 'must inevitably widen the scope of divorce because all the grounds of divorce in all the States would be made grounds of divorce under Commonwealth Law' (St Joan's Alliance, Statement). The proliferation argument was common in the state Councils. A special meeting of the Queensland Council was told that 'the allowable grounds for divorce in the various states totalled 23, but that Queensland had only 7 grounds'-and that 'to achieve uniformity Queensland might have to accept additional grounds which might make divorce easier'. The note-taker even-handedly summed up the feeling of the meeting: 'Most members were in favour of the principle of uniformity, no one wanted divorce in general made easier, everyone agreed that the first care should be to the happiness of home and family' (NCWQ Minutes, 4 November 1953).

At the 1954 national Conference, President Ruth Gibson paid due respect to this unstable mix of opinion. While celebrating the fact that 'in the matter of divorce laws... the ANCW has long since taken the lead in urging reforms', she promptly qualified this with a defence of home and family as 'the very foundation stone of national life... we at all times give our support to anything that will foster and strengthen happy home life'. At the same time, she stood for equality: 'Whatever our views on divorce, the fact remains that marked inequalities exist in law as between men and women and as between States, and it seems only fair and just that these should be removed'. Moreover: 'It does not automatically follow that with uniformity will come easier divorce... the solution may probably lie in a suitable compromise between the existing State laws'. This careful statement of the issues proved effective: 'ANCW reaffirmed its belief in the desirability of... uniform divorce laws for Australia' and 'advise[d] Federal Government accordingly, asking them to take early action' (NCWA Conference Minutes, 1954, 2, 31).

The same patient and rational approach to leadership of a diverse body of women was evident in national and state migration coordinator (later NCWA president) Ada Norris's response in 1971 to the suggestion of the Central Gippsland branch of the Victorian Council that the intake of migrants should be slowed. Norris organised a one-day conference, 'Migration in the Balance', with a panel of experts on the links between migration and economic growth, conservation, education, housing and social welfare. Change, this former schoolteacher believed, would only come with tolerance born of increased knowledge. Norris herself summed up the papers and responses to questions from the audience in a measured and moderate fashion. To cut down the immigration program overall and limit population would only increase pressure from 'crowded countries with lesser living standards in our geographical region'. It would also bolster local prejudice and resistance to the continued gradual change she believed necessary to 'integration' and community acceptance (Smart, 2011, 311-14).

In accounting for the leading role of the National Councils, we should also note their longevity. The continuity thus created can perhaps be related to sociologist Carol Mueller's argument in examining the organisational basis of conflict and conflict resolution in feminist associations. Those capable of dealing most effectively with internal discord, she claims, are the mass-based formal ones 'because of their rule-generating capacity'. The more radical collectivist ones tend to splinter, especially with the influx of large numbers of new members, whereas formal rule-making operates to defuse and contain disputes because it involves learning, accepting and using complex commonly agreed-on structures of decision-making (Mueller, 263-75). Yet, there is a clear downside to this in terms of leading change for women and by women. Continuity may result in stagnation. And decision processes are slow if you want to bring large numbers of women with you. In most cases, the Councils did not themselves initiate schemes for extensive or radical reform, and sometimes they lagged behind. Sometimes some of their own affiliates independently took the lead as was the case with the state Women's Non-party Associations in the interwar period and the Women's Electoral Lobby in the latter part of the century, and sometimes-especially from the 1970s-the initiative came from external groups, notably Women's Liberation. While there are some exceptions, the NCWs' philosophy of leadership has generally been gradualist, emphasising information, education and co-operation rather than activism, agitation and opposition, and advocating operating within the system rather than undermining it. Sometimes, as a result, the Councils have seemed to follow rather than lead. But they have been persistent once a policy direction was agreed on, and policy formulation has been mostly very thorough and well researched. And what we can say with reasonable confidence is that the Council movement's crucial role and major leadership achievement, especially in its glory days up to the 1970s, lay in making broadly feminist ideas seem safe, relatively uncontroversial and acceptable to large numbers of ordinary Australian women, and therefore also to governments.

Archival Resources

Fryer Library and Department of Special Collections, University of Queensland

  • Records, 1906 - 2004, UQFL402; Fryer Library and Department of Special Collections, University of Queensland. Details

National Archives of Australia

  • Marriage and Divorce Bill 1947, 1948 - 1951, 7830921; National Archives of Australia. Details

National Library of Australia

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Papers, 1960 - 1989, MS 8260; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Records of the National Council of Women of Australia, 1924 - 1990, MS 7583; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

State Library of Victoria

  • Constitution, Article III - Policy [National Council of Women of Victoria (NCWV)], 30 March 1904, In transition; State Library of Victoria. Details

State Library of Western Australia

  • National Council of Women of Western Australia, 1911 - 2010, MN 187; State Library of Western Australia. Details

Tasmanian State Archives

  • Correspondence, minutes and associated papers of the National Council of Women of Tasmania, 03 March 1905 - 31 December 1971, NS325; Tasmanian State Archives. Details

Published Resources

Australian Women's Register Entries


  • Norris, Ada, Champions of the Impossible: A History of the National Council of Women of Victoria 1902-1977, Hawthorn Press, Melbourne, Victoria, 1978. Details
  • Rupp, Leila, Words of Women: The Making of an International Women's Movement, Princeton University Press, Princeton, United States of America, 1997. Details
  • Sher, Noreen, The Spirit Lives On: A History of the National Council of Women of Western Australia 1911-1999, National Council of Women of Australia: Western Australia (NCWWA), Perth, Western Australia, 1999. Details
  • Stephenson, Freda, Capital Women: A History of the Work of the National Council of Women (ACT) in Canberra 1939-1979, Highland Press for NCWACT, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, 1992. Details

Book Sections

  • Davis, Fiona; Musgrove, Nell and Smart, Judith, 'Introduction', in Davis, Fiona, Musgrove, Nell and Smart, Judith (eds), Founders, Firsts and Feminists: Women Leaders in Twentieth-Century Australia, The University of Melbourne: eScholarship Research Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, 2011, pp. 1-12. Details
  • Mueller, Carol, 'The Organisational Basis of Conflict in Contemporary Feminism', in Myra Marx Ferree and Patricia Yancey Martin (eds), Feminist Organizations: Harvest of the New Woman's Movement, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, United States of America, 1995, pp. 263 - 275. Details
  • Smart, Judith, 'Ada Norris (1901-1989): Champion of the Impossible', in Davis, Fiona, Musgrove, Nell and Smart, Judith (eds), Founders, Firsts and Feminists: Women Leaders in Twentieth-Century Australia, The University of Melbourne: eScholarship Research Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, 2011, pp. 307-325. Details
  • Smart, Judith and Quartly, Marian, 'Making the National Councils of Women National: The Formation of a Nation-wide Organisation in Australia 1896 - 193', in Sulkunen, Irma; Markkola, Pirjo and Nevala-Nurmi, Seija-Leena (eds), Suffrage, Gender and Citizenship: International Perspectives on Parliamentary Reforms, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle on Tyne, England, 2009, pp. 339 - 357. Details

Conference Papers

  • Offen, Karen, 'Overcoming Hierarchies through Internationalism - The Council Idea: May Wright Sewall's Ideas for the International Council of Women (1888-1904)', in IFRWH/CISH Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands, August 2010. Details
  • Smart, Judith and Quartly, Marian, 'Identity Politics: The NCWA as Subject and Audience', in Australian Historical Association Regional Conference, Armidale, New South Wales, 23 - 26 September 2007. Details

Edited Books

  • Vann, Molle Leen and Gubin, Eilane (eds), Women Changing the World: A History of the International Council of Women, Editions Racine, Brussels, Belgium, 2005. Details

Journal Articles

  • Quartly, Marian and Smart, Judith, 'The Australian National Council of Women: Its Relations with Government to 1975', Australian Feminist Studies, forthcomming. Details
  • Smart, Judith and Quartly, Marian, 'The National Council of Women of Victoria: suffrage and political citizenship 1904-14', Victorian Historical Journal, vol. 79, no. 2, November 2008, pp. 224-236. Details
  • Smart, Judith and Quartly, Marian, 'Mainstream Women's Organisations in Australia: The Challenges of National and International Co-operation after the Great War', Women’s History Review, vol. 21, no. 1, 2012, pp. 61 - 79. Details

Newspaper Articles


  • National Council of Women of Australia (NCWA), Report of Biennial Conference, Melbourne, Victoria, 15 - 18 October 1946. Details
  • National Council of Women of Australia (NCWA), Minutes of Conference, Adelaide, South Australia, 1954. Details


  • Gray, Kate, 'The Acceptable Face of Feminism: The National Council of Women of Victoria, 1902 -18', MA thesis, The University of Melbourne, 1988. Details
  • Thomas, Renee, 'Emily's Empire: Emily Dobson and the National Council of Women in Tasmania, 1899-1939', Masters Thesis, University of Tasmania, 2004. Details

Online Resources

Digital Resources

Marriage and Divorce Bill 1947
Digitised Paper Resource
1948 - 1951
National Archives of Australia
National Archives of Australia