Round-Up: Women in Music in SA, WA, NT, QLD, TAS and ACT

Courtney Barnett, Image Credit: Forte Mag
Jasmine Crittenden
| July 4, 2017

Last fortnight, we brought you a round-up of initiatives, both formal and informal, supporting, promoting and nurturing women in music in Victoria and New South Wales. Now, we turn to the other states.

Please note: this is intended as an overview, rather than a comprehensive summary. If you know of an important initiative we’ve missed, don’t hesitate to let us know and we will endeavour to add it.


Earlier this year, MusicSA, in collaboration with moshtix, announced a new scholarship, supporting women in the music industry. To open in September 2017, the grant will provide funding for one recipient to complete a Certificate IV in Music Business at St Paul’s Creative Centre.

In May, the History Trust of South Australia held a lecture series titled Queer Lives: Activism and the Arts, one of which was ‘Musical Selves: Protest Songs, Sexualities and DIY of Australian Women’s Music‘, delivered by Kathy Sport, who completed a PhD titled ‘Women’s Music in Australia: Space, Place, Bodies, Performance” at Macquarie University.

At grass roots level, there are women-only community choirs, such as Illumina, which completes two major performances annually, and collectives, such as Women Performing, which, in 2014, released More than a Pretty Face, a CD featuring female musicians only.


In 2016, Perth hosted the inaugural Athena Music Festival, a women-led event with an all female line-up, at Curtin University. It is now held annually during the week of International Women’s Day.

Numerous women’s choirs open to singers of all levels are spread across the state. These include the Perth Harmony Chorus, A Capella West and Fremantle Women’s Choir.


MusicNT runs three programs dedicated to women in music. These are:

  • Desert Divas, which, since 2010, has provided mentoring, workshops and performance opportunities at major events for indigenous female musicians. Participants released their music via Australia: Desert Divas Vol. 1.
  • Saltwater Divas, a one-week workshop program held in July for indigenous female songwriters aged 14 and over
  • Siesta Sounds, which, since 2011, has taken music workshops for women to remote communities all over the Territory

Another important initiative is the Central Aboriginal Women’s Choir, which performs at the Desert Song Festival every year and has toured internationally. And, in 2016, Barunga Festival threw a spotlight on female performers.


Music Tasmania runs Keep One Eye on the Stranger, an exclusive songwriting retreat for women, once a year. Participants receive an all-expenses paid trip and mentoring from a high-profile female musician. Previous teachers include Abbe May and Kram.

Meanwhile, the Thomas Henry Reid Foundation is a not-for-profit music studio where women can learn about recording, mixing and sound engineering. And, among Tasmania’s female community choirs are the Nourish Women’s Choir and the Hobart Harmony Chorus.


In 2017, the Queensland Music Festival introduced Songs That Made Me, a series of mentorships for female songwriters in regional areas.

The Queensland Music Festival administers the Carol Lloyd Award for emerging Queensland female singer-songwriters, established in memory of an iconic Queensland female artist.

In 2017 Brisbane music company SUGARRUSH Music, presented the inaugural BIG SKY GIRLS a free six-month mentorship program aimed at building talent and establishing music careers for 10 young female songwriters from across the State.

Women in Voice, a well-established cabaret agent, organises and promotes performance opportunities for female singers and the Muses Trio is an all-female group that performs the work of female composers exclusively. Meanwhile, singers of all levels are welcome to join the Jubilee Singers Choir.

On 8 March, as part of Queensland Women’s Week and International Women’s Day, BEMAC, QMUSIC & MIIO held DiverCityArts, a networking evening for female and gender-diverse arts practitioners.


In the ACT, local musician Kirsty Anderson is running a regular gig series called She-Riff, which features women-only line-ups. “Even back to the triple J Hottest 100s for the last few years, when they come out there’s always an uproar that there’s not enough female musicians. So I wanted to do something,” she told the Canberra Times.

Last year saw the inauguration of Girls Rock! It’s a week-long music camp for girls aged 10-17, held annually. And, since 2003, A Chorus of Women has given more than 150 public presentations, incorporating music, drama and conversation.

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