Women's Groups 2013 - Nardine


Purpose of the group

Nardine Women’s Refuge provides supported accommodation and assistance for women and children escaping domestic and family violence. Support includes advocacy in legal, housing and welfare matters, day and overnight staff attendance, emergency assistance, emotional support and counselling, follow-up services and child care and child support services. The latter includes support from the domestic violence child counselling services established in the early 1990s—initially funded by Partnerships Against Domestic Violence—which visit all metropolitan refuges.

Before Nardine was established, there were three women’s refuges in the metropolitan area and they were overwhelmed with demand for emergency accommodation. Nardine’s approach was different from previous women’s refuges because it provided information and support for women who wanted to leave violent and abusive relationships. Previous services presumed women would return to their relationships after a short stay in the refuge.

Until 1997, Nardine operated as a collective with a philosophical commitment to shared power and shared work. Initially, the collective was open to everyone but, by the late 1970s, it narrowed to include only residents and workers, then Nardine workers only. Under the threat of complete loss of funding, Nardine changed to a management structure in 1997.

Time period

A meeting was held in May 1974 between members of the Women’s Electoral Lobby and Women’s Liberation. One result was establishing the Women’s Centre Action Group (WCAG), which had the aim of setting up a women’s health and community centre. This included a women’s refuge which became Nardine (the health service later became known as Women’s Health Care House).

In July 1974, the WCAG started providing emergency accommodation for women and their children in a Mount Lawley house. A year later, the refuge moved to larger premises in North Perth and, later in 1985, three adjoining blocks of land were bought to build a new refuge. In 1991, after years of planning, negotiating and building, Nardine opened a purpose-built refuge in Perth’s south eastern suburbs where it continues to provide services.

Key achievements

Nardine has provided emergency accommodation and support for women escaping domestic violence, and their children, continuously since 1974.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Founding members Michelle Kosky, Sally Speed, Penny Fogarty, Diane Fruin and Helen Shannon.
  • Pat Whitmarsh and Gillian Draffin, the first paid staff members.
  • Volunteers, staff and management committee members Georgi Stone, Suellen Murray (secretary), Lois Gatley (inaugural chair), Anna Spencer, Deborah Dearnley, Susie Wilkins, Colleen Hay, Sue Allen, Diana Warnock, Glenis Hunter, Maggie Lawson, April Davis, Glenda Blake, Kedy Kristal, Daphne Smith, Libby Best, Karen Lockhart, Cath Munro, Linda Digby, Louise Langhorn, Elke Kaiser, Tina Fernandes, Kelley Molloy, Alessandra Traverso, Elenie Kolitsis, Lou Kyle, Nova McCormack, Anna Brown, Dawn Bessarab, Jackie Corby, Rahimah Abdullah, Faduma Ahmed Hassan and Eversley Ruth.


  • Murray, Suellen, 2002, More Than Refuge: Changing responses to domestic violence, Perth: UWA Press.
  • Information provided by Georgi Stone and Suellen Murray.

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)
Chrysalis House Women's Refuge
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
Grapevine/Perth Wimmin’s Collective
Gretel Club of Perth (Inc)
Harvest Guild
Incest Survivors Association (Inc.)
Inner Wheel Australia
Inside Out Project
Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre
Kalgoorlie Auxiliary of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Karrakatta Club
Labor Women’s Association
Lespar Library
Living Child Inc.—Safe Village Births
Lutheran Women WA
Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre
Mining Mums
Modern Women's Club
Mothers’ Union Australia
Movement for the Ordination of Women
Muslim Women’s Support Centre of WA (Inc)
National Council of Women of Western Australia (previously known as West Australian National Council of Women and Western Australian National Council of Women)
National Council of Jewish Women of Australia—WA section (NCJWA)
Nintirri Centre
Older Women’s Network (OWN WA)
Penguin Club
Perth Ionian Club
Polyhymnia Reading Group
Rape Crisis Line
Rural Remote Regional Women’s Network (RRR)
Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC)
Sibyl/University of Western Australia Student Guild Women’s Collective
Society of Women Writers WA
Soroptimist International of Western Australia
Starick Services Inc
Status of Women Committee WA—Australian Labor Party
Tradeswomen on the Move
UN Women Australia (formerly UNIFEM Australia)—Perth Chapter Young UN Women Perth Chapter
Union of Australian Women—WA Branch
V.I.E.W. Western Australia
West Australian Women’s Society of Fine Arts and Crafts
War Widows’ Guild
Warrawee Women’s Refuge
Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL)
West Australian Housewives’ Association (Inc)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Women in Media
Women’s Information Referral Exchange (WIRE)
Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) of Western Australia
Women in Education Coalition
Women in Mining WA (WIMWA)
Women in Sailing (WIS)
Women in Sport Committee of the Western Australian Sports Council
Women in Technology WA (Inc) (WiTWA)
Women Lawyers of Western Australia (Inc) (WLWA)
Women with Disabilities WA Inc (WWDWA)
Women’s Action Alliance (WAA)
Women’s Advisory Council (WAC)
Women’s Broadcasting Cooperative
Women’s Committee of State School Teachers’ Union WA Executive
Women's Committee of the Waterside Workers Federation
Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA)/Women’s Refuge Group of WA (WRG)
Women’s Health and Family Services/Women’s Health Care House/Perth Women’s Centre/Women’s Health Service
Women’s Information Service (WIS)
Women’s Interest Network
Women in Engineering WA (WIE WA)
Women’s International Zionist Organisation (WIZO)
Women’s Liberation
Women’s Service Guilds
Women’s Studies Group
Yanay Yanma
YWCA of Perth
Zonta International
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