Women's Groups 2013 - Women’s Service Guilds

Women’s Service Guilds

Purpose of the group

The Women’s Service Guilds were part of a national network, the Australian Federation of Women Voters (AFWV). The motto for the group was ‘by love we serve’ and it had strong links with the Theosophical Order of Service.

Time period

A meeting was called by Edith Cowan on 25 March 1909 where a motion to form the Women’s Service Guild was carried.

Key achievements

The guilds in Perth acted as AFWV headquarters for more than 20 years. In 1909, the guild sent questionnaires to all candidates at elections to gain their views on issues of importance to the guild.

From its early meetings in 1909, the guild campaigned for a maternity hospital to be established in WA. This idea gained popular support and fundraising was organised by the guild. Eventually, a converted industrial school opened its doors in July 1916 as the Kind Edward Memorial Hospital.

Guild members also campaigned extensively to establish free kindergartens in WA. Working with other groups, such as the Karrakatta Club and Children’s Protection Society, the aim was achieved in 1912. Improving conditions for women prisoners at Fremantle Prison was another priority.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Lady Gwenyfred James, inaugural president.
  • Vice-presidents were Marion Holmes, Bessie Rischbieth, Edith Cowan, Jessie Gover and Janetta Griffiths Foulkes.
  • Other officers included Amelia Macdonald and Helen King.
  • Many key people involved with the guild were also prominent members of the Karrakatta Club, Women’s Christian Temperance Union and Labor Women’s Organisation.


Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia records, 1921–1974. Documents available from the State Library of WA (detailed listing available MN 826).

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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