History of the Mackay Women’s Centre

In early 2001, a dedicated group of women came together to discuss the need to provide a more equitable access to services for all the women of the Mackay district. These women came mostly from the staff or committees of three existing women’s services – Mackay Women’s Health & Information Centre, Pregnancy Help and the Domestic Violence Resource Service. Their focus was on the well-being of all women, and their visionary thinking developed the concept of a combined service, where Mackay women could attend for many of their life events, and where staff could meet a variety of needs in a friendly, safe and homely atmosphere.

The concept of a ‘Combined Women’s Service’ was introduced in a discussion paper by Eunice Donovan, a former DVRS manager, and then Chairperson of the committee, in May 2000. This was set against a background of concern for local services. In 1999, Queensland Health withdrew funding for sexual assault services for women from a community-based women’s organisation, and began providing those services from within its own structure. Within twelve months of that action, the Mackay Women’s Health & Information Centre was threatened with closure, when its rented premises (owned by Queensland Health) were sold.

To be continued.