The Women's Voluntary National Register, Queensland State Council, was established by a gathering of representatives from Queensland women's organisations at a meeting in Brisbane, Queensland on April 26th 1939. It was part of a federal government scheme to determine how many women would be able to provide 'manpower' and national service, if required, when the nation went to war. The list of organizations associated with the register provides evidence of the large number of women who were members of clubs and organizations in the interwar period.
The Women's Voluntary National Register testifies to the extent to which Australian women were organized into clubs and societies prior to the outbreak of World War II. When Australia went to war, the Federal government wanted to arrive at an understanding of how much 'national service' women (17 years and over) would be able to provide, if it was necessary. The most efficient means of doing this was to tap into the pre-existing network of women's clubs and organizations, and call upon their membership to provide the information. Clubs that affiliated with the register would collect the details of (eligible) volunteers from within their membership base and forward that information to the central register. Women would then be classified according to the type of work available, and the type of work they were suited to do. Women who weren't members of an organization could still volunteer through the state council headquarters, but clearly, 'outsourcing' much of the work to the organizations was a cost and time efficient method of operation.
According to the official regulation book, the objects of the council were:
1) To co-ordinate methods and generally direct the war activities of the various bodies that will participate in the registration.
2) To ensure uniformity in methods of registration
3) To act as the medium between Government authorities and the women's organisations who will complete the register.
In 1939 there were 72 affiliated organizations. Forty-six were metropolitan based and twenty-three were from the country. Affiliated organizations included:
Australian Comfort Fund
Bardon Women's Club
Brisbane Women's club
Catholic Daughters of Australia
Creche and Kindergarten at Highgate Hill
Lady Musgrave Lodge
District Nursing Association
League of Women Voters
Methodist Women's Emergency Group
National Council of Women
Women's Electoral League
Queensland Women's Club
United Protestant Women's Association
Toch-H league of Women Helpers
British Jewish Women's Guild and Benevolent Society
New Settlers league
Business Women's Social Association
Protestant Women's Club
Catholic Women's Comfort Fund
Bush Book Club
View the full record at
Australian Women's Register