Who's this

Phyllis Daylight

Pastoralist, activist

Women's History Month 2012

Women with a Plan: architects, town planners and landscape architects

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Women's History Month 2011

Women in the Business of Food

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About Women's History Month

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About the Australian Women's History Forum

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IWD events

8 March is International Women's Day

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Women's History Month 2010

Demeter’s Daughters: women’s harvest history

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Women's History Month 2009

Parliamentary Women

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Women's History Month 2008

Women with a Mission: working worldwide

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Women's History Month 2007

Arm in Arm - women working together

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Women's History Month 2006

Musical Belles

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Women's History Month 2005

Racy Women

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National History Challenge

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The Timeline is a listing of key events in Australian women's history, an authoritative timeline of milestones and anniversaries.

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31 October 1827

First Female Workers Riot

First Female Workers Riot occured at the Parramatta Female Factory over conditions and food deprivation.


Victorian Women with Equal Voting rights in Local Government

From the 1860s (and possibly as early as 1856), Victorian women landowners had equal rights with male landowners to vote in Victorian Local Government elections.


NSW Married Women's Property Act


First Australian Suffrage Society

Henrietta Dugdale and Annie Lowe formed the Victorian Women’s Suffrage Society

20 July 1888

Organising women’s suffrage in South Australia

Women’s Suffrage League formed in South Australia
14 January 1890

Call for

On January 14, 1890, a public meeting in Adelaide was held to form the "Women's Trade Union of South Australia," Mrs. Mary Lee, in speaking said : " They wished to insist upon equal pay for equal work without regard to sex. " South Aiustralian Register 15 Jan, 1890

21 March 1895

Votes for women in South Australia

The proclamation of South Australia's Suffrage Act, assented to by Queen Victoria on 2 February,  gave women an equal right with men to vote, and to stand for election to the Colony's House of Assembly.
Women with property could also vote in Legislative Council elections, but women could not stand for the upper House of the parliament until 1959.

15 May 1900

Women win the vote in Western Australia

West Australian women win the vote in WA elections with Queen Victoria’s assent to the Bill passed by the WA parliament on 15 December 1899
9 July 1900

Australian Constitution

Queen Victoria's Assent enacts the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution 

First Australian Women to Receive the Vote

Commonwealth Franchise Act passed, enabling all women (with the exception of Aboriginal women in some states) to stand for federal parliament and vote in federal elections

12 June 1902

Federal suffrage

Commonwealth Franchise Act grants right to vote and stand for election for the Australian parliament to women on the same basis as men, with Aboriginal people in some States still without this right
16 December 1903

First Australian women stand for federal parliament elections

Vida Goldstein, Nellie Martel, and Mary Ann Moore Bentley stand for the Senate, and Selina Siggins for the seat of Dalley in the House of Representatives
29 February 1904

Votes for women in Tasmania

Tasmanian women won an equal right with men to vote in elections for the House of Assembly. Women with property were eligible to vote for the Legislative Council and from 29 October 1920 those who served in the 1914-18 war were also eligible to vote for the upper House. An equal right to stand for election to both Houses was won two years later.

23 October 1907

Australian Exhibition of Women’s Work opens

Opening of the Australian Exhibition of Women’s Work in Melbourne by Lady Northcote, with Pattie Deakin running a model creche during the five-week exhibition showcasing the work of musicians, artists and craftswomen
31 March 1909

Votes for women in Victoria

Women in Victoria won an equal right with men to vote in State elections. Only women who met the propery qualification could vote in Legislative Council elections. Victorian women won an equal right o stand for election to both Houses of their State parliament in 1924.

22 December 1919

First female member of a local government council in Australia and Australia's first politician

Susan Grace Benny became the first female member of a local government council in Australia, on 22 December 1919.

12 March 1921

First woman elected to an Australian parliament

Edith Cowan (Nationalist, West Perth) became the first woman to be elected to an Australian parliament. She served in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly until 22 March 1924.
12 August 1921

Australian Federation of Women Voters

Bessie Rischbieth founded this federated body of Australian women’s political associations as a national group to liaise with international feminist organisations and establish credentials as lobbyists and advisers at the League of Nations.

An immediate success of the AFWV was  lobbying prime minister Billy Hughes to have a woman included on Australia's delegations to the annual League of Nations General Assembly. From 1922 Australia was one of the few member nations to comply with the equailty provision in the covenant of the League in including a woman on each official delegation.

26 August 1925

First woman member speaks in the NSW Parliament

Millicent Preston-Stanley, elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly  in May 1925, delivered her first speech two weeks after the opening of the parliament.

First women to have a seat in Federal Parliament

Enid Lyons and Dorothy Tangney after more than 20 years of women's struggle to get into Federal parliament finally each won a seat in the House of Representatives and the SenateParliament. They were the first women  do so.

23 September 1943

First women elected to the federal parliament

Dame Enid Lyons becomes a member of the House of Representatives for the United Australia Party, and the Australian Labor Party’s Dorothy Tangney takes a seat in the Senate representing West Australia

SA Council of Aboriginal Women

Founded by Gladys Elphick, a Kaurna descendant


Zelda D'Aprano

In 1969, Zelda D'Aprano chained herslef to the Commonweath Building in Melbourne. 35 years later (2004) she was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of her campaigning on women's workplace issues.

19 June 1969

Equal Pay

After decades of campaigning, Australian women workers win equal pay rates with men doing comparable work under an Arbitration Commission decision for incremental increases, with pay parity eventually achieved in 1972
February 1972


The Women's Electoral Lobby (WEL) began in Feb 1972 when 10 women met in a femisnists home to disuss ways of playing a more influential role in the election planned for December that year.

31 August 1975

Australia celebrates International Women's Day

The Australian Government held the first national conference from 31 August to 6 September in1975 on the status of women (Women and Politics) and committed Australia to celebrating International Women's Day with other member nations of the United Nations.

The coinference generated a great deal  of debate in Australia.  Some conference delegates  invaded the offices of the Canberra Times to protest about the coverage of the conference.

25 April 1981

ANZAC Day. Women arrested while marching to remember women raped in war.

In the early '80s, a number of Australian women attempted to join official ANZAC Day marches because they wanted to commemorate all women who had been raped in wars.

In 1980, fourteen women who tried to do this in Canberra were arrested.  The following year, again in Canberra, around 250 women attempted to join the tail of the official ANZAC Day march but were stopped by police and directed not to march.  The police were acting under a Section 23A of the Traffic Ordinance, a section that had only been gazetted the day before the march.  As a result about 64 people, mainly women, were arrrested and charged with failing to obey the police directive. 

The special legislation, march and arrests that took place aroundthat  Anzac Day in 1981 gave rise to a great deal of debate in the Canberra Times.


Australia becomes CEDAW signatory

Australia becomes a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
1 July 1989

National Foundation for Australian Women launched

The official launch of the National Foundation for Australian Women was at the National Press Club in Canberra on 1 July 1989. A series of mini-launches in all states and territories were held in the following six months.
8 March 2000

Women's History Month 2000 launched

Hon Margaret Reid, Senator for the ACT and President of the Senate, launched Women's History Month in Parliament House Canberra.
12 February 2002

Women's History Month 2002 launched

19 May 2010

Female Prime Minister

On May 19, 2010, a female, Julia Gillard became the first woman Prime Minister of Australia.

7 May 2011

AWPA Nancy-Bird Walton Memorial Award 2011

At the Australian Women Pilots' Association 2011 Annual Conference, held in Darwin, the AWPA Founder's annual award, the Nancy-Bird Walton Memorial Award 2011 was presented to Australia's first woman helicopter pilot, Rosemary Arnold of Victoria, a close friend of Nancy-Bird Walton for 46 years, "for the most noteworthy contribution to aviation by a woman in Australasia 2011". Rosemary Arnold First Females Above Australia 

Rosemary Arnold's book tour included her old school, St Jakobi's Lutheran School in Lyndoch SA where she arrived in the school playground by a helicopter piloted by Billie-Jo Kies of Barossa Helicopters and her pilot-sister Bridgette.

24 June 2012

Australia's first female Prime Minister

Julia Gillard became the first female Prime Minister,  serving from 24th June 2012 to 27th June 2013.


First Aboriginal woman to have a seat in federal parliament

Olympic Hockey Gold medallist, Nova Peris was the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to a seat in Federal parliament.

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