Women's Groups 2013 - Cockburn Women’s Peace Camp

Cockburn Women’s Peace Camp

Purpose of the group

This was a short-term group that involved a national peace convoy of women from all over Australia who congregated in a camp at Cockburn Sound, just south of Perth. The organising group was called Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND), which was later known as Women for Survival. The purpose of the protest camp was to oppose the US naval base, just offshore on Garden Island, and the servicing of nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed ships and submarines on the island. While an anti-nuclear protest, it was a feminist women-only campaign that specifically identified nuclear weapons and facilities as being a male extension of patriarchy, dismissing the voice and concerns of women advocating for the welfare of the planet and its people.

Women also opposed the use of local Fremantle women as ‘sexual bait’ and entertainment for visiting sailors and the impact it had on all women in the area. The philosophical motives and operational manner of the camp and protest were radically feminist in nature. Local newspapers and media were not sympathetic: articles from The West Australian, The Sun, Daily News and The Advertiser gave a large amount of coverage, rarely in favour of the protest. The camp was organised by a feminist collective but media spokeswomen are identified in the newspaper articles. About 150 women were arrested and charged at the protest.

An innovative ‘peace train’ was organised with the railways and unions to bring women from the eastern states to the camp and protest. But costs became a burden and it was transformed into a road train with several buses travelling together, although this proved impossible to coordinate. The memory and ideals of the peace train remain in posters and newsletter images, testament to its ingenuity.

Time period

1–15 December 1984.

Key achievements

Raising awareness about the issue of nuclear weapons and vessels in local waters. WAND also support a women-only peace camp at the Pine Gap military installation in the Northern Territory.

Key people and positions in the group

Not provided.


  • Information provided by Georgi Stone and Suellen Murray.
  • The Australian Women’s Register: http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/PR00100b.htm.

Article Index
Women's Groups 2013
Abortion Law Repeal Association/Association for the Legal Right to Abortion (ALRA)
American Women's Club of Perth (AWC)
Association of Civilian Widows of WA Inc
Australian College of Midwives WA Branch (ACM)
Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA)
Beta Sigma Phi
Business and Professional Women Western Australia (BPW)
Catholic Women’s League of Western Australia (Inc)
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Cine-Matrix: Women in Film and Television WA
Cockburn Women’s Peace Camp
Combined Equal Pay Committee/WA Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity
Community Midwifery WA
Country Women’s Association (CWA)
Domestic Violence Action Group (Geraldton)
Emily’s List
Equal Opportunity Law Reform Coalition
Fremantle Women’s Health Centre (FWHC)
Girl Guides WA
Graduate Women Western Australia (GWWA)/Australian Federation of University Women (AFUW) Western Australia
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Gretel Club of Perth (Inc)
Harvest Guild
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Inner Wheel Australia
Inside Out Project
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