Timeline


1883
Law & Justice
First Married Women's Property Act passed in SA
“The first of the Married Women's Property Acts to be passed successively in the Australian ...”
Education
The first woman graduated from an Australian University.
“Bella Guerin was Australia’s first female university graduate – she gained her Bachelor of Arts ...”
1884
Law & Justice
Married Women’s Property Act
“ The Married Women's Property Act enabled married women to hold property of their own, sue ...”
1889
Violence
The Drunkards Wife
“ In 1889, Louisa Lawson wrote “Will it be believed, a hundred years hence, that such ...”
1890
Health
Constance Stone became the first registered female doctor in Australia
“ Constance Stone became the first registered female doctor in Australia. She had to study overseas ...”
1894
Politics
SA accords women the right to vote
“ SA became the first State to accord women the right to vote and the right ...”
1897
Politics
First female political candidate – Catherine Spence
“ Catherine Spence stood for election to the National Australasian Convention for Federation (commonly referred to ...”
1899
Health
The Queen Victoria Women’s Hospital Shilling Campaign
“Every woman in the colony of Victoria was asked to donate one shilling (about $40 ...”
1902
Politics
Federal Suffrage
“ Non-Aboriginal women gained the right to vote in Federal elections and the right ...”
Employment
Women must resign from working in the public service upon marriage
“The Public Service Act 1902 explicitly required women to resign upon marriage, but allowed for ...”
1903
Leadership
First female Parliamentary Candidates
“ Vida Goldstein (Victoria)(pictured), and Nellie Martel and Mary Ann Moore Bentley (New South Wales), stood ...”
Politics
Vida Goldstein became the first woman in the British Empire to stand for election to a national parliament
“ Vida Goldstein because the first women in the British Empire to stand for election to ...”
1905
Equal Rights
Queensland accords women the right to vote
“The Electoral Franchise Bill and Elections Act Amendment Bill introduced into Queensland Parliament allowing non-aboriginal ...”
1907
Politics
Queensland women vote in their first state election
“Queensland women vote in their first state election”
1908
Equal Rights
"Trust the Women"
“ The 1908 'Trust the Women' suffrage banner was carried by the Australian contingent in the ...”
1911
Women’s Rights
First International Women’s Day
“ In 1910 an International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named ...”
1912
Law & Justice
Maternity Allowance Act
“ The Maternity Allowance Act provided for a grant of £5 on the birth of a ...”
Sport & Adventure
Sarah (Fanny) Durack become first Australian woman to win gold at the Olympic Games
“The Paris Olympic Games of 1900 was the first time women were able to compete ...”
1915
Law & Justice
South Australia and NSW appoint the first female police officers
“ South Australia and NSW appointed the first female police officers. In South Australia the officers ...”
Equal Rights
Women obtain the right to be elected into Queensland Parliament
“Women obtain the right to be elected into Queensland Parliament under the 1915 Elections Act ...”
1919
Employment
Minimum wage for women's work set at 54 per cent of the male rate.
“ A minimum wage for women's work was set by Mr Justice Higgins as part of ...”
1921
Politics
First woman elected to an Australian Parliament – Edith Cowan
“ The first woman was elected to an Australian Parliament – Edith Cowan to the lower ...”
1922
Politics
Introduction of the Queensland Maternity Act
“The Queensland maternity act helped establish maternity services including hospitals, clinics and other pre- and ...”
1923
Equal Rights
Introduction of jury service for women in Queensland
“ As a result of amendments to the Queensland Jury Act, Queensland initiated the introduction of ...”
1925
Politics
First woman member, Millicent Preston-Stanley, speaks in New South Wales Parliament
“Millicent Preston-Stanley was the first woman member of the New South Wales Parliament. Elected to the NSW ...”
1929
Politics
Irene Longman, became Queensland’s first female parliamentarian in May 1929
“Irene Longman, became Queensland’s first female parliamentarian in May 1929.  Her career ran for only one ...”
1938
Politics
Brisbane Women’s Hospital Opened
“ The first women's hospital began in 1864. It was called the Queensland Lying-In Hospital and ...”
1942
Employment
The Australian Women’s Land Army (AWLA) established
“ The Australian Women’s Land Army (AWLA) was established in 1942 to attract women to replace ...”
Politics
Widows’ pensions were introduced in 1942
“Widows’ pensions were introduced under the 1942 Widows’ Pensions Act 1942”
1943
Employment
“Join us in a Victory Job”
“ This work is typical of the recruitment posters aimed at women during the Second World ...”
Politics
First women elected to Federal Parliament – Enid Lyons and Dorothy Tangney
“ The first woman was elected to Federal Parliament – Enid Lyons to the House of ...”
Equal Rights
The Women’s Prayer
“ THE WOMEN'S PRAYER Our Prime Minister Which art in Canberra Democracy be thy aim. May liberty come and equality ...”
1947
Leadership
Jessie Street appointed as Australian representative to United Nations Commission on the Status of Women
“Jessie Street (1889 – 1970) is one of Australia’s most famous feminist activists having worked ...”
1950
Employment
Female basic wage set at 75% of the male basic wage
“ First determination of a female basic wage. The Commonwealth Arbitration Court set this at 75% ...”
1959
Law & Justice
The Matrimonial Causes Act 1959
“ The Matrimonial Causes Act 1959 provided 14 grounds for the grant of a decree of ...”
1961
Law & Justice
Uniform Marriage Laws across Australia
“ The Commonwealth took responsibility for a uniform Australian marriage law, with the enactment of the ...”
1962
Indigenous
All Aboriginal women (and men) were finally able to vote.
“ In the 1960s moral outrage at the way countries like South Africa and the United ...”
Law & Justice
Roma Mitchell became Australia’s first female Queen’s Counsel
“ Roma Mitchell became Australia's first female Queen’s Counsel. Later she became Australia's first woman Supreme ...”
1966
Employment
Married women allowed to work in the Commonwealth Public Service
“The bar on employment of married women in the Commonwealth Public Service was abolished in ...”
1969
Equal Rights
Zelda D’Aprano
“ In 1969, Zelda D'Aprano (pictured on the right in this photo) chained herself to the ...”
Employment
'Equal pay for equal work'
“ Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission ruling of 'equal pay for equal work', to be phased ...”
1970
1971
Equal Rights
Bank of New South Wales grants loans to women without requiring a male guarantor
“Following a campaign from women's liberation activists, in early 1971 the Bank of New South ...”
1972
Equal Rights
“Equal pay for work of equal value”
“ Commission extension of equal pay concept to 'equal pay for work of equal value' to ...”
Violence
First rape crisis centre established
“ Sydney Rape Crisis Centre was established as a result of a two-day meeting of women ...”
Law & Justice
The Federal Child Care Act 1972
“ The Federal Child Care Act 1972 provided federal involvement and funding for childcare.”
Politics
Women’s Electoral Lobby
“ The Women's Electoral Lobby (WEL) began in February 1972 when 10 women met in a ...”
1973
Employment
Unpaid Maternity Leave
“ The Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973 provided for (unpaid) Maternity Leave for Commonwealth public ...”
1974
Violence
Australia's first women's refuge established
“ Sydney feminists squatted in an unused house and set up Australia's first women's refuge ‘Elsie’.”
Health
First Women’s Health Centre opened
“ The Leichhardt Women's Community Health Centre was the first women's health centre to be established ...”
1975
Law & Justice
Family Law Act 1975 brings in no fault divorce
“ Family Law Act 1975 passed by the Federal Parliament brings in no fault divorce. Before 1975 ...”
Education
Publication “Girls, School and Society” report
“ In 1975, International Women’s Year (and decade) was declared by the United Nations, and in ...”
Violence
Eleven women's refuges across the country open
“ The Whitlam government funded 11 women's refuges and shelters across the country. Many are known ...”
Equal Rights
First sex discrimination Act passed in South Australia
“ The first sex discrimination Act in Australia was passed by the South Australian parliament in ...”
Law & Justice
Elizabeth Evatt became the first Chief Judge of the Family Court.
“ Elizabeth Evatt was the first Chief Judge of the Family Court and the first woman ...”
Women’s Rights
International Women's Year
“United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 1975 International Women’s Year (IWY). On International Women’s Day (8 ...”
1976
Sexual Assault
Rape in marriage becomes illegal in South Australia
“ In 1976, for the first time in the English-speaking world, rape in marriage became a ...”
1978
1979
Employment
Deborah Wardley won the right to be employed as a pilot by Ansett in a case heard by the Victorian Equal Opportunity Board.
“ Deborah Wardley, a qualified pilot and flying instructor, sent in the first of many applications ...”
1981
Indigenous
First woman to head a government department – Pat O’Shane
“ When Patricia O’Shane was appointed permanent head of the New South Wales Ministry of Aboriginal ...”
Violence
NSW women allowed to prosecute husbands for violence
“ NSW introduced the Crimes (Domestic Violence) Amendment Act 1982 and the De Facto Relationships Act ...”
1983
Violence
Even in the Best of Homes published
“ Even in the Best of Homes: Violence in the Family by Jocelynne ...”
Equal Rights
Australia ratifies CEDAW
“ Australia signed on to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of ...”
1984
Employment
Federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984
“ Sex Discrimination Act 1984 passed by the Federal Government. This made discrimination on the basis ...”
Equal Rights
Pamela O’Neill becomes first Sex Discrimination Commissioner
“After enacting the Federal Sex Discrimination Act (1984) Pamela O’Neill becomes the first Sex Discrimination ...”
1985
Violence
First National Conference on Domestic Violence
“In 1985 the Australian Institute of Criminology hosted a National Conference on Domestic Violence, formulating ...”
Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) established
“National data shows that the major cause of women’s and children’s homelessness is domestic and ...”
1986
Politics
Janine Haines became the first woman leader of a political party in the Federal Parliament.
“ Janine Haines became the first woman leader of a political party in the Federal Parliament.”
Equal Rights
Affirmative Action (Equal Employment Opportunity for Women) Act 1986
“ The Affirmative Action (Equal Employment Opportunity for Women) Act 1986 required certain employers to promote ...”
Leadership
Joan Child became first female Speaker of the Federal House
“ Joan Child was the first female member of the Australian Labor Party to be elected ...”
1987
Violence
National Committee on Violence established
“ The National Committee on Violence was established as the result of a joint agreement between ...”
Law & Justice
First female High Court Judge appointed – Mary Gaudron
“ Mary Gaudron was appointed to the High Court in February 1987. She was the first ...”
Violence
The Women’s Coalition Against Family Violence
“ The Women’s Coalition Against Family Violence published an influential book called 'Blood on Whose Hands?' ...”
Law & Justice
Domestic violence became a criminal offence in Victoria
“ The introduction of the Crimes (Family Violence) Act 1987 in Victoria, made domestic violence in ...”
1988
Violence
National Agenda For Women named violence as a major issue
“The then Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, launched the first National Agenda for Women in 1988, ...”
Domestic Violence Attitude Survey published
“In 1988, the Office of the Status of Women in the Department of The Prime ...”
1989
Indigenous
Conference of Indigenous women
“ In July 1989 the First International Indigenous Women's Conference was held in Adelaide. The conference was ...”
Politics
First female head of State – Rosemary Follett
“ Rosemary Follett became the first female Head of State in Australia when she was appointed ...”
Violence
The Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act was passed
“The Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act was passed”
1990
Politics
First female State Premiers - Carmen Lawrence, and Joan Kirner.
“ In a leadership change on 12 February 1990, Dr Carmen Lawrence made history by becoming ...”
Sport & Adventure
First Aboriginal woman to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games – Cathy Freeman
“ At the 1990 Commonwealth Games held in Auckland, New Zealand, Cathy Freeman won a gold ...”
Politics
First woman Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission – Lowitja O’Donoghue
“ Born in 1932 in a remote Aboriginal community, Lowitja (Lois) O'Donoghue became the founding chairperson ...”
Law & Justice
Women inspectors were allowed in the Queensland Police
“The first women police officers were promoted to inspector level in the Queensland Police Service ...”
1991
Law & Justice
Family Law Act changed to include provisions about child abuse
“ The Family Law Act 1975 was amended in 1991 to include provision on the handling ...”
Leadership
First female vice-regal representative appointed - Dame Roma Mitchell
“ Dame Roma Mitchell became the first female vice-regal representative in Australian when she was appointed ...”
Violence
Family Violence: Everyone's Business, Someone's Life published
“ Family Violence: Everyone’s Business, Someone’s Life made a significant contribution to changing ...”
Politics
Rejection of Marital Rape Immunity
“High Court unanimously rejects the so-called common law ‘marital rape immunity’ in R v L  HCA 48 ...”
Equal Rights
The Queensland Anti Discrimination Act and Australian Capital Territory Discrimination Act Passed
“The Queensland Anti Discrimination Act and Australian Capital Territory Discrimination Act were passed, which promotes ...”
1992
Violence
Women’s Emergency Services Network (WESNET) established
“ The development of a National Peak Body to represent women's domestic violence services across Australia, ...”
1993
Violence
National Committee against Violence against Women provided training for professionals
“ The National Committee against Violence against Women provided training for police and judiciary in all ...”
Education
Gender and Violence Position Paper released
“ In 1993, the then Commonwealth Department of Employment Education and Training, through the Office of ...”
1994
Education
Sticks and stones: Report on violence in Australian Schools
“ Front cover of the Sticks and Stones Report In 1994, the Australian House of Representatives Standing ...”
1995
Violence
Community Attitudes to Violence Against Women published
“ In 1995, the Office for the Status of Women published a follow up to its ...”
Disability
Women With Disabilities Australia established
“Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) was incorporated in 1995 and evolved from the National Women's ...”
1996
Law & Justice
New gun control legislation introduced
“Australia’s gun control legislative reform in response to the 1996 Port Arthur massacre was a ...”
1997
Violence
Partnerships Against Domestic Violence (PADV) begins
“ A Commonwealth program called Partnerships Against Domestic Violence (PADV) committed $50 million dollars for research ...”
1999
Sport & Adventure
Hockeyroos became the most successful side in the history of women's world hockey
“ The Hockeyroos became the most successful side in the history of women's hockey after winning ...”
Indigenous
Lowitja O'Donoghue honoured
“ Dr Lowitja O'Donoghue, was awarded the CBE, AM for public service and leadership to Indigenous ...”
Disability
First paralympian to be named Australian Athlete of the Year –Louise Sauvage
“ Louise Sauvage became the first Paralympian to be named Australian Athlete of the Year.”
Politics
Carla Zampatti was the first woman to be appointed as Chair of the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS).
“Carla Zampatti was the first woman to be appointed as Chair of the Special Broadcasting ...”
2000
Equal Rights
Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act introduced
“ The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 came into effect. The Act ...”
Science
First female Australian scientists to work at the South Pole – Jessica Dempsey and Jill Rathbourne
“ In January 2000, two female graduates of the University of New South Wales, Jessica Dempsey ...”
Politics
The Hon Jackie Kelly MP became the first woman to give birth while serving as a Federal Government Minister
“ The Hon Jackie Kelly MP became the first woman to give birth while serving as ...”
2001
Disability
WWDA wins Australian Human Rights Award
“WWDA was named the National Winner of the Australian Human Rights Award. The judges were ...”
Violence
Publication of The National Crime Prevention Survey
“The National Crime Prevention Survey in 2001 found that one in seven teenage boys thought ...”
Indigenous
First Aboriginal Woman elected to an Australian Parliament – Carol Martin MLA
“ Carol Martin MLA was the first Aboriginal Woman to be elected to an Australian Parliament ...”
Politics
First female Governor of New South Wales –Marie Bashir
“ Professor Marie Bashir became the first female Governor of New South Wales.”
Leadership
Youngest person to become leader of a political party – Natasha Stott Despoja
“ Senator Natasha Stott Despoja was elected leader of the Australian Democrats and, at 32, became ...”
2003
Law & Justice
Tasmania abolished provocation as a defence to murder
“ Tasmania abolished provocation as a defence to murder. In 1998, the Model Criminal Code Officers Committee ...”
2004
Violence
Access Economics reports that domestic violence costs the Australian economy $8.1 billion per year
“This ground breaking report, found that the total annual cost of domestic violence in 2002–03 ...”
Health
The Health Costs of Violence: Measuring the burden of disease caused by intimate partner violence published
“VicHealth published important research The Health Costs of Violence: Measuring the burden of disease caused ...”
2007
Politics
First female Deputy Prime Minister – Julia Gillard
“ The Hon. Julia Gillard MP became Australia’s first female Deputy Prime Minister.”
Sport & Adventure
First national senior basketball team to win a world championship gold medal – the Opals
“ The Australian Opals became Australia’s first national senior basketball team to win a world championship ...”
Disability
A paralympian presents at the closing ceremony of the United International Year of Sport and Physical Education
“ Katrina Webb (pictured second from right in back row) was one of four international athletes ...”
Violence
Preventing violence before it occurs published
“ Preventing violence before it occurs was a framework and background paper to ...”
2008
Violence
National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children
“ The Commonwealth Government sets up the National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and their ...”
Politics
First female Governor General of Australia – Quentin Bryce
“ Quentin Bryce becomes the first female Governor General of Australia on 5 September 2008. Ms Bryce ...”
Violence
National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children established
“ In May 2008 the Prime Minister, the Hon. Kevin Rudd MP, and the Minister for ...”
Sport & Adventure
First mother and daughter team reach the summit of Mount Everest
“ Cheryl Bart and Nikki Bart became the first mother and daughter team to reach the ...”
Education
Australian Education Union Policy on Gender Equity
“ The Australian Education Union Policy adopted its policy on  Gender Equity in May 2008. The ...”
2009
Politics
First popularly elected female Premier in Australia – Anna Bligh
“ The Hon. Anna Bligh MP, Premier of Queensland, became the first woman in Australian history ...”
Health
National Survey on Community Attitudes to Violence Against Women published
“ VicHealth was commissioned by the Commonwealth Government in February 2009 to undertake a National Survey ...”
Politics
Time for Action published
“ The National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children released their National Plan ...”
2010
Politics
First female Prime Minister – Julia Gillard
“ The Hon. Julia Gillard MP, was sworn in as the 27th Prime Minister of Australia ...”
Sport & Adventure
First Australian Woman to reach North and South Pole on foot – Linda Beilharz
“ On 26 April 2010, after completing an epic 55-day, 780-km journey from Ward Hut Island, ...”
Law & Justice
Family Law Act reviewed
“ The Commonwealth Government began to review the Family Law Act 1975, with a particular emphasis ...”
Politics
Six National Women’s Alliances funded
“ The Commonwealth Government announced funding for six National Women’s Alliances. The Alliances are to take the ...”
Indigenous
First Indigenous woman elected to a UN body – Megan Davis
“ International Human Rights lawyer Megan Davis became the first Indigenous woman elected to a United ...”
Law & Justice
Family Violence: A National Legal Response published
“ The Australian Law Reform Commission published Family Violence: A National Legal Response.”
Politics
School based Respectful Relationships Education
“School based Respectful Relationships education is incorporated in the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against ...”
2011
Violence
Release of the National Plan
“ The Australian Government released the first ever National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women.”
Leadership
First female Premier in Tasmania – Lara Giddings
“ Lara Giddings became Tasmania’s first female Premier. When Lara Giddings was elected to Parliament in ...”
Politics
Nicola Roxon - Australia’s first female Attorney-General
“Nicola Roxon became Australia’s first female Attorney-General on 14 December 2011”
Leadership
Robyn Walker was announced as the first woman in the Royal Australian Navy to attain the rank of Rear Admiral
“In December 2011, in the centenary year of the Royal Australian Navy, Robyn Walker was ...”
Politics
First Ambassador for Women and Girls – Penny Williams
“"The Office of the Ambassador for Women and Girls was established in September 2011 to ...”
2013
Violence
Our Watch was established to engage the community in action to prevent violence against women and their children.
“Our Watch was established as an initiative under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against ...”
Politics
Natasha Stott Despoja AM appointed Ambassador for Women and Girls
“On 16 December 2013, Natasha Stott Despoja AM was appointed as Ambassador for Women and ...”
First Indigenous Woman Elected to Federal Parliament - Nova Peris
“Nova Peris was first elected in 2013 and became the first Indigenous Australian to be ...”
2014
Violence
Second Action Plan 2013-2016 of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children
“The Second Action Plan 2013-16 is the second of four stages of the National Plan ...”
2015
Leadership
Rosie Batty named Australian of the Year
“Since 2013 Rosie Batty has been a champion for the prevention of domestic violence – ...”
Politics
Announcement of COAG Advisory Panel to Reduce Violence Against Women
“In the wake of calls to action to address domestic violence, the Federal Government announced ...”
Violence
Release of report from Queensland Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence
“The Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland released their report on 28 ...”