University of Melbourne Archives

The Victorian Women's Liberation and Lesbian Feminist Archive

by Fay Anderson, Archivist

(from the UMA Bulletin No. 9, October 2001)

A major collection of women's liberation and lesbian feminist literature was transferred to the University of Melbourne Archives at the end of 2000. The collection, the Victorian Women's Liberation and Lesbian Feminist Archive (VWLLF Archive), contains the papers of 127 individuals and organisations associated with women's liberation, political activism and the lesbian movement. The collection dates from 1950 to 1996 and consists of 441 standard archive and larger boxes of women's liberation and lesbian feminist literature, memorabilia and private papers. It is one of UMA's more important and exciting additions that complements the Archives' existing and evolving women's collections, notably the records of the Working Women's Centre, the Women's Electoral Lobby, the Victorian Women Graduates' Association, the Young Women's Christian Association and, most recently, the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

The VWLLF Archive began in 1982, bringing together the papers of 127 individuals and women's organisations. It includes correspondence, membership records, posters, articles, publications, banners, photographs, petitions, newspaper clippings, postcards, leaflets, constitutions, press releases, programs, conference papers, handbooks, minutes, contact lists, diaries, poetry, badges, discussion papers, maps, newsletters, budgets, invitations, submissions, songbooks and sheets, a brothel kit, legislation, poetry, drawings, costumes, stickers, speeches, audio cassettes, interviews, scripts, calendars, questionnaires and an extensive collection of periodicals.

The VWLLF Archive is also significant in offering an extensive collection of periodicals and documenting the women's movement, gender, sexuality, and social issues both in Australia and internationally. The collection boasts partial or entire runs of main-stream, alternative, fringe or more obscure publications (see the list that follows).

A comprehensive and diverse series of subject files collated by individuals and various organisations also dominates the VWLLF Archive. Issues including: Aboriginal rights; abortion; alcoholism; apartheid; arts; domestic violence; cancer; drugs; child-care; contraception; crime; defence; disability; education; environment; equal opportunity; feminism; film; health; housing; incest and child abuse; intellectual and physically disability; IVF; law; lesbian and gay issues; matriarchy; menopause; menstruation; mental health; multiculturalism; natural health; politics; pregnancy and child birth; prison; prostitution; rape; right wing women's groups; sex; sexism; sexual harassment in the work-place; sexuality; social welfare; suffrage; theatre; venereal disease.

The VWLLF Archive has already inspired avid interest among post-graduates, historians and journalists. Most of the papers are open to researchers although some of the more confidential material and case files are closed for a designated period. Most of the collection is listed to ensure that researchers will be able to access this unique collection.

Periodicals and Publications in the Victorian Women's Liberation and Lesbian Feminist Archive

For more information on the VWLLF Archive contact Archives staff.

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