Peak Body, WHNSW
There are 6 Rural, 5 Metropolitan, 6 Outer Metropolitan and 5 Specialist Women’s Health Centres in NSW represented by Women’s Health NSW, the peak body of Women’s Health Centres in NSW.
History of WHNSW
In 1973 around the time of International Women's Day, a forum was held that covered significant issues for women. One of the recommendations from the forum was the need to address the lack of appropriate service provision for women in the mainstream health system. The necessity to establish services for women became a priority. In 1974 the federal government granted funds and on International Women's Day that year in Leichhardt (NSW), the first women's health centre in Australia was opened.
In 1975 Centres were opened in Liverpool and Newcastle. New centres were emerging throughout the state and in 1978 centres were running in Wagga Wagga, Bankstown and Gosford. Not one of these centres were funded, each delivered services according to their community and were run by volunteers.
By 1981 it was decided to form an association to be known as Women's Health and Information Resource and Crisis Centres Association or WHIRCCA. The aim was to create ongoing networks and support as well as advocate on behalf of other communities trying to establish Women's Health Centres.
In 1985 the shared work of the association and the women in the communities of Sydney's western and south western suburbs saw the opening of centres in Blacktown, Penrith and Campbelltown as well as others in rural areas.
The change of name from WHIRCCA to Women's Health New South Wales transpired on 1 January 2000. WHNSW as an association embarks on many innovative projects which not only benefit each centre and its clients but also radically influence mainstream health practices. Women's Health NSW now represents 22 services throughout NSW.