The Women's Health Association formed out of the Women's Sanitary Association in 1901. They visited working-class women to teach them about sanitation and campaigned for better conditions for factory workers, better housing for the poor, and the health of children.
The Women's Health Association lobbied for measures in the 1903 Public Health Act to protect the lives of illegitimate babies whose mortality rate was more than double that of babies born to married couples. When the Act failed to make provision for inspection and advice giving to women who boarded the babies of single mothers, some members of the Women's Health Association formed the Children's Protection Society to campaign for greater stringency.
In the post World War One period, the Women's Health Association campaigned for women to sit on juries and to be appointed as magistrates in cases involving women and children. The Attorney-General, WB Propsting, who drew up the 1918 Children of the State Act, opposed the idea to some extent, especially women sitting on juries for sex offences. However, he made provision in the Act for special women magistrates to preside in children's courts.
1891 - 1901 Women's Sanitary Association
1901 - 1920? Women's Health Association
Sources used to compile this entry: Evans, Caroline, Protecting the Innocent: Tasmania's Neglected Children, Their Parents and State Care, 1890-1918, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 1999, 251 pp, http://eprints.utas.edu.au/14453/; Petrow, Stefan, ''Boiling over': Edith Waterworth and criminal law reform in Tasmania, 1917-1924', Tasmanian Historical Studies, vol. 4, 1994; Petrow, Stefan, Sanatorium of the South? Public health and politics in Hobart and Launceston, 1875-1914, Tasmanian Historical Research Association, Hobart, 1995, 218 pp.
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 8 December 2011, Last modified: 26 March 2014