Irene Greenwood Collection

Personal correspondence, radio transcripts, books, journals and papers of the organisations Irene Greenwood was involved with. The collection includes almost 1400 items which are listed in the Library Catalogue and 120 boxes of uncatalogued material.

Irene Adelaide Greenwood (1898 - 1992): Feminist, peace activist, political activist, broadcaster and writer.

Irene was a feminist and believed in equality. She also felt strongly that war was a crime and worked to involve Australians to help set up the United Nations which she saw as a way to stop future wars. Born in Albany in Western Australia she started her life long interest in social issues through her mother, Mary Driver's, concern for the oppression of Aborigines and women.

Irene worked in radio in Sydney from 1931 to 1935 when she returned to Perth and ran regular radio programmes including Women's Session on the ABC and Woman to Woman on commercial radio until 1955. During 1960's and 1970's she worked in the women's movement and the peace movement. She edited Peace and Freedom the official organ for Women's International League of Peace and Freedom. She also edited Equal Pay News for the Western Australian Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity.

She was involved in the foundation of West Australian branches of the Family Planning Association, The Abortion Law Repeal Association, Women's Liberation and Women's Electoral Lobby. She was also active in a number of other groups including the Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia, Modern Women's Club, Union of Australian Women, Australian Federation of Women Voters, Australian Women's Charter Movement, Advisory Committee to the Prime Minister for International Women's Year, International Alliance of Women (formerly the Women's Suffrage Alliance), Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Fellowship of Australian Writers.

Irene attended international and national conferences including being invited as a delegate to the Golden Jubilee Congress of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in the Hague and Zurich, in 1965. She has advised members of parliament about women's issues, been awarded the Member of the Order of Australia, and was the first woman to receive an Honorary Doctorate at Murdoch University. She was awarded the United Nations Association of Australia Silver Peace Medal and honorary life membership, and also received the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal. She has a ship named after her the M.V. Irene Greenwood.

Former Murdoch University Librarian Grant Stone built up a rapport with Irene and there are many taped conversations between her and Grant talking about her life and work. Towards the end of her life she donated most of her personal correspondence, radio transcripts, books, journals and papers of the organizations she was involved with to the Library. As a result Murdoch Library now houses a unique collection of social history.

Irene was meticulous in keeping papers and correspondence from all her activities. The collection can be accessed by researchers who can benefit from the huge wealth of material she has collected together.

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Preferred citation

[Identification of item], Irene Greenwood Collection, QB 24, Special Collections, Murdoch University Library, Murdoch, Western Australia.

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