National Council of Women of Victoria

Past Events

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>> May Forum - 3 May 2012
>> Pioner Women's Day - 24th January 2013
>> Pioner Women's Day - 19th January 2012
>> Pioneer Women’s Day Ceremony 2011: Unveil the Twisted Story
>> Celebrating 100 Years of International Women's Day
>> Book Launch celebrates the Year of Women in Local Government 2010 in Goulburn Valley
>> Are We There Yet

>> Rural Women's Voice
>> Migrant Women's Voice
>> Going to a City Hospital ? A Guide for Country People
>> Youth Initiative
>> International Women's Day
>> Tribute to Merrell Browne

May Forum - 3 May 2012

The May Forum was held on the 3rd of May in the Yarra Room of the Melbourne City Town Hall.

Major Jennifer Cloke, from the Salvation Army acted as the MC for the day, announcing the arrival of the dignitaries.

President of NCWVic Jennie Russell welcomed quests and thanked Susan Riley (Deputy Mayor) for procuring the Yarra Room which was used by the very early ancestors of this association in 1902 to 1927.

>> click here to download and view the full report.

Pioneer Women’s Day - 24th January 2013

Guest Speaker: Tania Chapman, Pioneer Women's Day 2013

Guest speaker, Tania Chapman, 2012 RIRDC Victorian Rural Woman of the Year, Mildura citrus grower and Chair of Citrus Australia, gave an excellent insight into her developing interest in horticulture and her decision, against initial misgivings of becoming a women’s voice in a male domain.  Her success in leading and speaking for the citrus industry saw her accept the position of Chair of Citrus Australia in 2010 and the many facets of business, finance and governance that require her attention.  She spoke eloquently on the role women can play in the industry and notes that more women are joining regional committees and advisory boards which augurs well for the future leadership in the horticultural industry.  Her succinct summary of the industry captured for all those present a brief but comprehensive view of the challenges faced by horticulture and the change needed to survive.

Pioneer Women’s Day - 19th January 2012

Situated within Kings Domain, the Pioneer Women's Memorial Garden was funded in 1935 by the Women's Centenary Council and by public donations as part of Melbourne's centenary celebrations. Hugh Linaker's sunken garden features a canal terminating in a blue tiled grotto containing Charles Web Gilbert's small bronze figure of a woman .

>> click here to download and view the full report.

Guest speaker, Carol Warren, CEO Home Economics, Victoria, President Elect International Federation for Home Economics (IFHE), Chair of IFHE’s 2012 World Congress (to be held in Melbourne in July) and Club Melbourne Ambassador gave a wonderful insight into the pioneering work of professionals working within Home Economics worldwide and alluded to her own pioneering work in this area.

>> to read Carol’s address please click here.

Pioneer Women’s Day Ceremony 2011: Unveil the Twisted Story

May Hu, Senior Producer, Mandarin Program, SBS Radio, was guest speaker at the 50th Australia Day’s Pioneer Women’s Memorial Ceremony on the 20th January, 2011.  More than 75 people attended the ceremony and Australian native flower wreath laying ceremony held at the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden, King’s Domain. This was followed by a short service at the Shrine of Remembrance, the laying of another wreath and the viewing of the new Peace Garden dedicated to all women who served in the 1st and 2nd World Wars.

May reflected on the history of Chinese settlers and their contribution to Australia.  Please take the opportunity to read her speech.

To read May’s speech, please click here.

Celebrating 100 Years of International Women's Day
by Eva Court

On Monday 7 March 2011, the National Council of Women of Victoria, in conjunction with the League of Women Voters of Victoria, held a function in Parliament House to celebrate the centenary of International Women's Day (IWD) in Victoria. The event was called Young People Speak and it was opened by the Minister for Women's Affairs, Ms Mary Wooldridge MLA.

The participants in this event were students from suburban and regional high schools in Victoria who had competed in Vida's Voices and the Legacy national public speaking competitions. Vida's Voices is a public speaking and leadership opportunity for Year 10 Girls and is an initiative of the Victorian Women's Trust.

Vida Goldstein (1869-1949) was a feminist and campaigner for the rights of women and children. Her tireless efforts helped to win the right for women to vote in 1908. She believed in the power of educated and articulate women.

Each year Legacy also holds a national competition for students aged 12 -14 years. About 2000 students participate across Australia. The aim is to enhance public speaking skills and to help the participants appreciate the ideals of Legacy, such as voluntary service, caring, comradeship and remembrance.

The Commemorative Programme and Notes on Outstanding Women are informative, attractively presented and a credit to those who produced them. The beautiful,grand venue gave a real sense of occasion to the day. The majority of the students were girls, but there were a few boys who were made welcome by the audience. The topics of the speeches ranged widely, from the situation of indigenous soldiers willing to give their lives for Australia, who were still discriminated against on their return home, the role of women in the second World War, outreach programmes for Afghan girls, to aiding disabled girls to live fuller lives. The speeches had not originally been written to celebrate IWD, but most were quite suitable. The male winner of the National Legacy award spoke about his heroes, including Mahatma Gandhi.

Posters were made to commemorate outstanding women of the past and present, and students then explained the posters which we were able to look at. Very pleasant refreshments were enjoyed at mid-morning. To end the proceedings, we were entertained by a vocalist from Preston Girls Secondary College.

I am sure all who participated and those who attended, would agree that it was a very worthwhile event to celebrate the centenary of International Women's Day.

References: The Websites of the national Council of Women of Victoria Inc., Legacy and Victorian Women's Trust and The League of Women Voters.

Eva Court : Arts Letters and Music Adviser, Member of the NCWV Executive Committee

Book Launch Celebrates the Year of Women in Local Government 2010 in the Goulburn Valley

A book celebrating Greater Shepparton women's involvement in local government was launched recently.

The book, titled "A Woman's Place in Local Government" profiles the experiences of the 14 female councillors and one town clerk who have been involved in local government in the Shepparton district since the 1960s.

The Goulburn Valley branch of the National Council of Women Victoria (NCWV), with support from Greater Shepparton City Council, co-ordinated the researching, writing and publishing of the book as part of the 2010 Year of Women in Local Government celebrations.

Goulburn Valley branch president Barbara Brown said the project was a wonderful celebration of the contribution made by women as elected councillors and paid personnel in local government.

Ms Brown said the profiles covered the period before amalgamation - when people in the Shepparton district were served by the shires of Shepparton and Rodney and the City of Shepparton as well as the current council.  

"The district's first female councillor, Alice Mcleod, was elected to the Shire of Shepparton in 1969," Ms Brown said.

She said the state average for the proportion of female councillors on council was 30 per cent. 

Women have done better in becoming elected representatives than in attaining senior management positions," Ms Brown said.  Pat Gibson was the only woman to have held the top position in management, town clerk - now known as the CEO - in the City of Shepparton from 1976 until 1981. 

Ms Brown said the book was the culmination of months of research and writing.

 "It's been a terrific project for all involved," Ms Brown said.

"The women's stories are personal recollections with each woman telling her own story in her own way."  

Copies are available from the Goulburn Valley Branch, NCWV, PO Box 6258, Shepparton 3632 or the Greater Shepparton City Council - Ph. 58329700 or write to General Manager, Community Development, Locked Bag 1000, Shepparton 3630.

"Are We There Yet"

"Are We There Yet" a Commemoration a  Centenary of  Women's Franchise in Victoria in conjunction with the VCA Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. This event includes a major art exhibition, a keynote address, two curator and artists talks and a publication. It will be held at the VCA from mid June to mid July 2008.

Rural Women's Voice

This project was carried out through a Women's Community Leadership Grant with the support of a department for Victorian Communities, Office of Women's  Policy. The project consisted of a series of group and individual interviews from across Victoria over a 12 month period. Women were accessed through our regional branches and affiliates. Issues important to them were raised and discussed. A report was written with recommendations and submitted to government.

Migrant Women's Voice

This project was conducted with the assistance of a Victorian Multicultural Commission Strengthening Multicultural communities Grant. The project format was similar to the Rural Women's Voice however focused on the experience of migrant women.

Going to a City Hospital ? A Guide for Country People

This brochure was developed in conjunction with Barwon Health to assist women and families when faced with immediate transfer from a country hospital to the city. Advice was provided on what to bring, where to stay and so on. This has been successfully transferred to other states.

Youth Initiative

In conjunction with Carwatha Secondary College year 9 and 10 girl students and over a 4 year period, young women from a wide variety of backgrounds, nationalities and socio economic levels learned how to work together to bring an issue of importance to them to the attention to the relevant people. This included making a verbal submission to the to the "Family and Community Development Committee of Parliament Inquiry into Issues relating to the Development of Body Image Among Young People and Associated Effects on their Health and Wellbeing", setting up an Amnesty International group at the school, developing and running workshops on Animal Cruelty and Body Image.

International Women's Day

International Women's Day is marked on March 8 every year. It is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women.

International Women’s Day 2013 was celebrated by NCWV on 4th March at Parliament House Melbourne.

On this day we celebrate and encourage our young people and promote “Empowerment, Leadership and Involvement”. NCWV are highlighting the students of “The Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award (LJPSA)” and YWCA’s “ASISTA” mentoring programme.

Sandie de Wolf AM, CEO of Berry Street will be lead speaker discussing Berry’s Street’s work with young people. This is followed by seven exceptional young people from the Victorian LJPSA who will present their winning speeches from 2012 award competition. The award is nationwide and is aimed at enhancing the oral communication and public speaking skills of secondary students aged 12 to 14 years, and helps young people appreciate the ideals of Legacy – voluntary service, caring, mateship and remembrance. Once again a Victorian won both the state and the national award in 2012.

Speeches by two of the talented young speakers winners in ‘The Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award’ are available now. 

Tiffany Shih’s speech “Looking Beyond the Lines” was the national winner of ‘The Legacy  Junior Public Speaking Award’.   
>> Click here to view Tiffany Shih's speech

Edmund Coleman was the runner-up of the state and national finals of the Award with his speech “The Southern Swastika”.
>> Click here to view Edmund Coleman's speech

YWCA’s “ASISTA” is a new venture also aimed to improve avenues of communication and leadership for young people.
(Prepared by the President NCWV, Jennie Russell, a Legatee)
>>Click here to download the flyer


Tribute to Merrell Browne

It is with regret that we record the passing of Merell Jean Browne, an Honorary Secretary of the National Council of Women of Victoria (NCWV).  Merell acted in the secretary role in 2003 – 2004 and was elected to the role in 2004 -2005.  Illness forced to relinquish the role towards the end of her term.    

Former NCWV President Gracia Baylor AM was asked by the family to give the eulogy at the moving ceremony at St John’s Anglican Church in Toorak on Friday 4th February, 2011 to celebrate her life.  With sincerity and style, Gracia listed Merell’s many accomplishments and her valuable and valued contribution to the National Council of Women of Victoria as a former Hon Sec of NCWV.

NCWV would also like to acknowledge her role in the NCWV suffrage centenary art project.  Merrell assisted Elizabeth Steeper- Sampson and Gracia Baylor in the design of  the art project that led to the exhibition 'A Time Like This' from July 17- August 16, 2008 at the VCA Margaret Lawrence Gallery.

Members and office bearers of NCW Victoria were in attendance to pay tribute to this very special lady.
Our sincere condolences are extended to Merell’s husband, Marshall and her daughter Justine.  May she rest in peace after her gallant battle with illness.