FRIENDLY UNION OF SOLDIERS' WIVES
In mid-August 1915, Her Excellency Lady Helen Munro Ferguson, wife of the Governor General, hosted an informal meeting of military officers' wives at Government House, Melbourne. At that meeting, it was decided to form 'soldiers' wives clubs' to be known as the Friendly Union of Soldiers' Wives.
In June 1916, Miss Beccie McDonald, Honorary Secretary of the Ballarat & District Red Cross, convened a meeting at the Australian Women's National League rooms in Ballarat with the view of replicating the Melbourne model. The Ballarat organisation resolved to include soldier's wives and mothers. First office bearers were Mrs C H W Hardy (Helen Kate Strachan), President, Mrs F Anderson, Treasurer and Mrs Violet Coulter, Secretary; all wives of senior military officers.
By September 1917 the Ballarat branch of the Union had arranged a sufficient number of events that the Courier not only reported the 'usual' monthly meeting, but also reported that the number of members had greatly increased in recent times. Musical programs and Christmas events were also conducted. Sometimes the Union was described as the Soldiers Wives Association.