16 October 2019

Tonight, YWCA Canberra celebrates its 90th year serving the Canberra community and changing lives for the better at an event at the National Museum of Canberra.

Frances Crimmins, Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Canberra acknowledged the many women that have contributed to the organisation’s growth and sustainability over the decades.

“We are where we are today because of the courage, tenacity, innovation and skill of the staff, board directors and members who have come before us.

“We’ve worked hard to honour their legacy of smart strategy, a focus on impact and meeting the emerging needs of our community.

“It’s a great privilege to be the CEO of an organisation that leverages its independence to make a real difference in the lives of some of our community’s most vulnerable people.”

YWCA Canberra was established in 1929 at a time where Canberra was in its infancy as a city.

Through World War II, The Great Depression, the first wave feminist movement and still today, YWCA Canberra challenges the status quo to improve outcomes for women, girls and their families.

“Today the organisation employs more than 350 people working across 24 work sites engaging thousands of Canberrans each week.

“Through our work in early childhood education and care, affordable housing, homelessness services, community development, youth engagement, training and education, women’s leadership and advocacy, we not only provide vital community services, we are leading change.”

“We will use the energy and momentum of our 90th year to showcase how we have evolved and continue to grow with Canberra and the surrounding region, to achieve our vision of ‘girls and women thriving’,” Ms Crimmins said.


Mrs Cowen, Miss Griffin and Miss Tapley Short – 1928

“Shall we accept the challenge to take the Blue Triangle to Canberra? The spirit and atmosphere of this capital where our laws are to be made will influence our nation’s destiny.”

Mary Stevenson – 1941

“Let our slogan be ‘construction work in progress, workers wanted’.”

Margaret Nicholas – 1945

“After the War, the President, Mrs Bird, was keen to start a Young Marrieds Club for women who were more or less housebound with new babies. The women were very happy to come out at night, meet new women, have a chat and learn a craft. Many friendships developed.”

Bronwen Murdoch, General Secretary – 1962

“We are more than an Association, we are a Movement, well fitted to overcome barriers. This year we have moved. The process is both exhilarating and exhausting but we have no intention of halting. The pace, in fact, is increasing.”

Margaret Geddes, Acting President – 1981

“Some members are critical of the concentration of resources in the [child care] field, but this is to take a narrow view… The current arrangement frees women to pursue other activities to help them develop their full potential and that is what the YWCA aims to do.”

Ethel McGuire, President – 1990

“Significant numbers of our current membership are older women who have faithfully supported the YWCA for years… We certainly need to look at our own future.”

Julie Nesbit, President – 2002

“We are a women’s organsation as well as a provider of community services and we must protect that which allows us to stand out from the crowd.”

– ENDS –

Frances Crimmins is available for interview.

Media contact: Communications, Advocacy and Engagement Team, 0429 210 881

Leave a Reply