Home The WCTU & the 1891 Woman's Petition

The Woman's Petition Collecting the Signatures WCTU Suffrage & Temperance Key People
Suffrage Time-Line Documents Petition Projects Further Information Acknowledgements

Womans Christian Temperance Union

WCTU departments

The work of the WCTU was divided into a number of departments. The following list shows the breadth of interests of the WCTU members.

WCTU departments in 1891 included:
  • Y Department
  • Press Department
  • Lockup and Gaol Visitations
  • Peace and Arbitration
  • Juvenile Work
  • Rescue Work and Midnight Missions
  • Heridity, Hygiene and Narcotics
  • Scientific Instruction State Schools
  • Foreign Correspondence
  • Ship Visiting
  • Work Among Cabmen, Railway Employees and Soldiers
  • Hospital Visitation
  • Evangelistic
  • Scripture Instruction in State Schools
  • White Cross and Shield
  • Church and Sunday School
  • Unfermented Wine
  • Franchise

WCTU branches

The WCTU branches throughout Victoria held regular meetings to discuss issues and plan action. Members could also attend the annual WCTU convention held in Melbourne. Public meetings were also organised with speakers such as Mrs Harrison Lee promoting the message. Leaflets on issues such as the dangers of alcohol or the need for woman suffrage were circulated among the members or distributed in public places such as railway stations.

The press was utilised to promote the message relating to temperance and woman suffrage. The major organ for the temperance organisations was The Alliance Record which regularly reported any news regarding the work of the temperance movement in Victoria. Verbatim reports from conferences and meetings were printed as well as commentaries on articles published by the daily press such as the Argus and the Age newspapers. Branches were encouraged to have reports of local meetings published in local newspapers.

Petitions were used to canvass public opinion on issues and the members used this tool on a number of occasions. Collecting signatures for the Woman's Petition allowed the members of the WCTU to also promote the work of their organisation to a broader public.

Practical measures were also taken. At the beginning of the twentieth century a number of drinking fountains were erected throughout Victoria so that if a man was thirsty he could have a drink of water and not have to resort to visiting a public house. A number of these fountains exist today as monuments such as the one in Sturt Street, Ballarat (top left) and in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne -opposite the Queen Victoria Market (right).

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