In September 1952, Councillor Violet Lambert of Ferntree Gully Shire Council, together with nine other women Councillors, from Eltham, Portland, Mirboo North, Kew, Caulfield, Chelsea, Mulgrave, Richmond and Heidelberg, met for afternoon tea at the Windsor Hotel and formed the Victorian Women Councillor Committee. This organisation lapsed after two years, primarily because many members lived in the country and arranging meetings was difficult.
A one day conference on Local Government, arranged by the National Council of Women of Victoria, was held on the 13th June 1963. As a result, the idea of an organisation was reborn. The driving force was solicitor Philippa M. Hallenstein, who became the Convenor of the Local Government Women’s Promotion Committee. She drew up a Constitution, and organised the first Annual Meeting of what became ALGWA. It was held on the 24th October 1963 at the Council of Adult Education, Flinders Street, Melbourne. The guest speaker was Mr. J.A. Hepburn, Chief Planner for the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works who spoke on ‘Metropolitan Planning’.
Hallenstein became the first president of the Victorian Branch of the national organisation, Jean Manning was elected secretary; both were to serve in those positions for the next two years. Membership had grown from fifteen to over sixty by the second A.G.M. and stabilized at around a hundred for many years. To see a listing of 1964 members, with an indication of those who served on the committee, Click here
The Constitution emphasized the non-party political nature of the organisation, which was open to all women interested in local government. (Men were admitted as members in 2005, and Council rather than individual memberships were also allowed in 2008.)
From 1964 onwards, an Annual Conference has been held, rotating from city to country venues. A listing of all known Conferences, and summaries of some of them, are further down this page.
As a result of a suggestion at the 1968 Ballarat Conference, a tree planting ceremony was incorporated into the Conferences for a number of years; it is not clear when this was discontinued. In 1988, following a suggestion by then president Pam Robinson, an Annual Bursary Award was instigated. The Award is for women working in local government and undertaking tertiary study, and is of financial assistance. Details of all known winners are also on this website, under the Bursary subtitle.
The early archives of the Association are held in the University of Melbourne Archives, and have been used in the compilation of some details on this website, and in the preparation of some display material.
In 2003 the branch celebrated 40 years with a State Conference and Dinner held in the City of Whitehorse. In 2013, 50th birthday celebrations included a State Conference and Dinner at Euroa, and other events in Geelong and Melbourne.