AUSTRALIAN WOMEN'S NATIONAL LEAGUE
The AWNL formed in about 1904, was a 500 branch strong organisation across Victoria and the Riverina. The formation of the Ballarat branch at the City Hall was reported in the Ballarat Star on 12 April 1905. Other district branches, including Ararat, Ascot, Beaufort and Skipton came into being by which time the League had about 6500 members. Since women had received the right to vote in 1901, it was felt that this organisation would educate and influence women to use that right to safeguard the interests of the home, women and children. They would oppose socialism and uphold the monarchy and the empire. At the first Ballarat meeting about 200 women enrolled and officers were appointed. President was Mrs Elizabeth Nevett (Dowling) who retained that position for the next 17 years. Other executive memberw were Mrs J Coghlan, Miss A Remmington, Mrs Ruby Lazarus (Braham), Mrs Dowling, Mrs Pearce and Mrs Brind.
Among the League's achievements during the war were the formation of a Milk Fund to provide milk for troops in the trenches, a ward at the Caulfield Military hospital and the sending of 3700 tins of fruit to Australian Prisoners of War in Germany.
Names of some of the Ascot soldiers who died on active service appear on this organisation's Roll of Honour Board. An interesting feature of the Board is that the motto of the Australian Women's National League is also present.
The Ascot group appears to have been part of the AWNL's function in the district. Support was offered to the Red Cross and the Lady Mayoress's Patriotic League at Ballarat. This arrangement appears to have been part of the state organisation's resolution.