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Australian Rural Women's Movement - Timeline

Activities, Women on Farms Gathering, Glenormiston 1994

Image: Activities, Women on Farms Gathering, Glenormiston 1994

Source: Museum Victoria

1979: 'The Woman in Country Australia Looks Ahead' - national conference held at La Trobe University, Melbourne.

1982: 'Women in Agriculture - Expanding our Spheres of Influence' - conference convened by Gippsland dairy farmer Lyn Johnson, held at the University of Melbourne.

1984: Women in Agriculture groups and workshops developed state-wide through the Victorian Department of Agriculture.

1986: Office of Rural Affairs established (May) and the Victorian Rural Women's Network initiated (September).

1987: First edition of NETWORK, the quarterly newsletter of the Victorian Rural Women's Network published (March).

1987: 'Farm Gate Learning' skills workshop held in Benalla, one of 17 projects funded that year by the federal Rural Women's Access Grants program.

1988: Women on Farms Skills courses developed in Gippsland. Pilot program conducted by Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DARA); PROCEED Continuing Education Centre, Warragul and the Victorian College of Agriculture and Horticulture, McMillan Campus, Warragul. These courses inspire local Gippsland women to start meeting together on farms to have informal 'Discussion Groups'.

1989: Rural Women Sharing Change, Gippsland. A joint initiative of the South Gippsland Farmers' Support Group, the Office of Rural Affairs and the Rural Women's Network.

1990: Department of Conservation and Environment appoint a project worker for 'women's participation in natural resource management' and 'Conserve', the women's environmental network is established.

1990: Inaugural Women on Farms Gathering held in Warragul, following the success of Rural Women Sharing Change, Gippsland 'Discussion Groups' and the farm skills courses. These annual Gatherings still continue to be held across Victoria.

1990: Office of Rural Affairs appoints a rural affairs advisor specifically to work with women in agriculture.

1990: DARA sets up a Women in Agriculture Working Group - regional representatives appointed to replace the project officers.

1991: Farm Advance, a community-based group assisting farm families in north central Victoria, appoints a Women in Agriculture coordinator.

1991: Rural Women's Conference in Parkes, NSW calls for better access to decision-making and information for rural women.

1992: Establishment of the NSW Rural Women's Network.

1992: 'The Invisible Farmer - a report on farm women' by Julie Williams, published by the Commonwealth Department of Primary Industries and Energy, aimed to make more visible the contribution by Australian farm women to agriculture.

1992: Victorian state-wide meeting of Women in Agriculture determines to develop an organisation for Women in Agriculture and supports the concept of progressing an international conference to be held in Melbourne in 1994.

1993: Inaugural NSW Women of the Land Gathering held in Orange. These annual Gatherings still continue to be held across NSW.

1993: Establishment of Australian Women in Agriculture Inc. (AWiA) with Dorothy Dunn (western district sheep and grain farmer) as the inaugural President and Mary Salce as Vice-President (February).

1993: South Australian Women's Agricultural Bureau conference, including input from the International Conference Committee.

1993: Inaugural Queensland Women in Agriculture Gathering held in Twin Waters. These Women on Farms Gatherings continue to be held across the state of QLD.

1994: Inaugural Tasmanian Women on Farms Gathering held in Scottsdale. These biannual Gatherings continue to be held across Tasmania.

1994: International Conference for Women in Agriculture, 1-3 July, University of Melbourne. This was the largest agricultural farming conference held in Australia at that time, with 850 women from 33 different countries attending.

1995: 4th World Conference on Women convened by the United Nations, held in Beijing, China, included a deputation from the International Conference for Women in Agriculture held in Australia (September).

1995: Launch of the Foundation for Australian Agricultural Women (FAAW), aimed at increasing the presence of women as leaders of influence within industry, business, councils, community and family.

1996: Inaugural South Australia Women on Farms Gathering held at Murray Bridge. These annual Gatherings continue to be held across South Australia.

1996: Establishment of the Western Australian Rural, Remote and Regional (RRR) Women's Network.

2002: Launch of the National Rural Women's Coalition (NRWC), aimed at providing a collaborative national voice for rural women living in rural, regional and remote Australia.

2003: Heritage Agreement between Museum Victoria and Victorian Women on Farms Gathering community is signed.

2006: Women on Farms Heritage Project wins Arts Victoria 'Arts Portfolio Leadership Award'.

2009: Federal Government launches the 'Recognising Women Farmers' grants, aimed at supporting and building the leadership and representative capacity of women in primary industries.

2009: 20th Women on Farms Gathering held in Warragul, West Gippsland.

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Women on Farms Gathering - The Perpetual Banner and Patches
The Women on Farms Gathering Heritage Agreement
Bibliography - Australian Women on Farms
Rural Women Gather Across Australia
Poetry and Song - The Victorian Women on Farms Gatherings

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