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Our History

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The League was established in Launceston in 1941, when Mrs. Gwen Mullins, recently arrived from South Australia, where she had become familiar with the League and its work, met with a group of interested women in Launceston and established the first group.  Other branches quickly followed and a state-wide motto was chosen: “God be glorified in all we do”.

We were thrilled with the recent discovery of historical documents proving that there was an earlier ‘League’ presence in Tasmania.  The Catholic Women’s Social Guild (now known as the Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga) established a branch in Hobart in early 1936 and Tasmania sent representatives to the Catholic Women’s League International and Inter-State Conference in South Australia in October that same year.  

The aims of the League were to:

  • promote the joys of friendship and mutual respect,
  • encourage members to deepen their faith through reflection and study, and
  • engage in works of Christian love, and speak out in support of the family, the sanctity of life and the dignity of people.

The importance of educating women to take their place in public life was soon realised and training days were held around the State.  From its inception, League members were concerned about issues concerning the family.  They were involved in issues such as immigration, media programmes, the provision of suitable films for children, the promotion of women in civic affairs, agitation for greater educational opportunities for girls and for adequate government assistance for those in need.   

In the 1960s, in their quest for justice and development, the League became a strong force in the fight for State Aid for private schools—a battle which was eventually won.  

Members taught catechism in government schools.  They also assisted the Rosary House Sisters in running a beach-side camp and arranged holidays for Aboriginal children.  It was a group of members of the League who formed the first committee to organize and raise money for the building of Mary’s Grange Nursing Home in the south of the State and then spent many hours on their knees scrubbing and cleaning in preparation for the first residents.  The establishment of Nazareth House (now Mt. Esk) in the north has a similar history of CWL assistance.

Following the Second Vatican Council, members became involved with ecumenical organisations such as World Day of Prayer and Australian Church Women.  In fact, it was a member of the League who became the first State President of Australian Church Women in Tasmania and another was the National Liaison Officer for World Day of Prayer.  Involvement in these organisations continues to this day.