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, and held in the Canberra Hotel suite of Cr Violet Lambert of Victoria. 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 to support women's participation in local government, both as Councillors and officers; it was to be non-party political. The Minutes can be seen here.
A provisional committee was elected, consisting of:
Cr Daisy Ellen Weeks, Alexandra Shire Council, Vic.
Cr Nola Isabel Barber, Chelsea City Council, Vic.
Cr Daisy Kelly, Hinchinbrook Council, Qld.
Alderman Naomi Oxley, Yass Council, N.S.W.
Councillor Ethel E. Wache, Noarlunga Council, S.A.
Alderman Maisie Watt, Holroyd Council, N.S.W.
Alderman L. Byrne, Gladstone City 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. [There is no mention of her in the Minutes]
(Cr Lambert declined to become an office bearer due to ill-health.) 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, and was to last only until 1956. It was subsequently re-established in 1963.
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. A list of attendees at the Convention can be seen here
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.
Click here to see a listing of all known members of the Board from 1966 to 2019.
A bi-annual conference has been held every year since 1966. Click here to see a list of conference dates and locations.
The 60th anniversary of the founding of the organisation was celebrated in a variety of ways. The Victorian Executive organised a national celebratory dinner at Old Parliament House Canberra in June 2011, coinciding with the Australian Local Government Association's National General Assembly. Branches also held their own State functions to commemorate the event, and details of these appear on their website or in their Newsletters.
The National Framework for Women in Local Government was produced following extensive consultation with Women in Local Government in November 2001 to ascertain the issues effecting women's participation in Local Government in Australia.
In 2006, the ALGWA National Executive undertook a review of the National Framework through focus groups, national roundtable discussions, forums and an on-line survey.
In May 2007, the review of The National Framework for Women in Local Government - The Way Forward was launched in Canberra and through ALGWA State and Territory Branches.
Copies of The Way Forward were distributed to all Councils and Local Government Associations throughout June 2007.
More recently, funding was received from the Federal Government to establish a 50:50 Vision, and details of that are elsewhere on this website.