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The History of ALGWA

The Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) was created in October 1951, during the Jubilee Year of the Commonwealth of Australia, at a meeting chaired by Dame Enid Lyons. Attendees included representatives of women’s organisations throughout Australia, several of whom were involved in local government. At the meeting it was agreed that an association of local government women be formed. A provisional committee was elected, consisting of:

President:            Cr Daisy Ellen Weeks, Alexandra Shire Council, Vic.

Vice Presidents:  Cr Nola Isabel Barber, Chelsea City Council, Vic.

                              Cr Daisy Kelly, Hinchinbrook Council, Qld.

                              Alderman Naomi Oxley, Yass Council, N.S.W.

                             Cr Ethel Evelyna Wache, Noarlunga Council, S.A.

Secretary/Treasurer:  Alderman Maisie Watt, Holroyd Council, N.S.W.

Members:           Cr Lucy W. Byrne, Gladstone Council, Qld

                             Alderman Elizabeth S. Gallimore, Leichardt Council, N.S.W.

                             Alderman Marie Hyman, Tamworth Council, N.S.W.

                            Cr Violet Lambert, Ferntree Gully Shire Council, Vic.

                           Cr Lavinia A. Murray, Stroud Council, N.S.W.

According to Women in Australian Parliaments and Local Governments.Past and Present by A. Viola Smith (1975), the following, in addition to the above, were founders:

Cr Marie Dalley, Kew City Council, Vic.; Cr Ellen Sheehan, Castlemaine Shire Council, Vic.

In October 1952 the first Conference of the Association was held in the Sydney Town Hall, with Cr Weeks in attendance.  The NSW Branch appears to have been established at that time; the Victorian Branch had been established in September, but was not to last.

It would appear the federal body was not to meet again until October 1966, when the first National Convention was held in Canberra, a National Board was elected and a constitution drawn up.

The 1966 Board included Alderman Marjorie Propsting as President, and Alderman Maisie Watt as Secretary, both of whom were from NSW. The Vice President was Cr Nola Barber of Victoria.

At some periods the Board consisted of members from one particular State, and rotated every two years; at other times members were from different States.  The current arrangement is that the Board consists of one delegate from each Branch, plus anyone co-opted to fulfil a particular position, such as Secretary.