The rise of the women's movement in the 1960s produced a demand for tertiary based women's studies programs. Universities responded to the demand but resources appropriate to the curriculum were often difficult to find in libraries and bookshops. In response the Women's Studies Resource Centre was established in July 1975 at Wattle Park Teachers College.
After moving several times the WSRC relocated to 64 Pennington Terrace, North Adelaide. The WSRC provided resources for the education of women and girls. It aimed to promote measures to improve women's positions in society, particularly in relation to their education needs. Although now closed, at February 2015 the WSRC Ready Reference Wiki is still available online at wsrc.wikidot.com/start
The Women's Information Switchboard (WIS) was opened by the Premier, Don Dunstan, on 10 July 1978. It's first location was the Institute Building on the corner of North Terrace and Kintore Avenue, with Andi Sebastian its first coordinator.
The need for a women's information service was identified after Deborah McCulloch AM was appointed the first women's adviser to the Premier in 1976. The primary purpose of WIS was to inform women about community resources available to them and after ten years of service WIS had averaged more than 25,000 calls per year.
The Switchboard was renamed the Women's Information Service in 1995 when computer technology was introduced, and in February 1996 expanded it's information services to include business, finance and property issues, the Minister for the Status of Women, Diana Laidlaw, saying at the time, WIS "needed to respond to women's changing needs in the 1990s and beyond".
On 27 September 1997, in response to a review that found women wanted face to face contact, Minister Laidlaw opened new shopfront premises in Station Arcade. The impact of information technologies continued to provide increasing opportunities and challenges for women and WIS. On International Women's Day, 8 March 2001, WIS launched a program to educate older women on the use of automatic teller machines and internet banking. On 4 November 2001 WIS celebrated 23 years of more than 1000 volunteers providing assistance and support to SA women with a celebratory afternoon tea. In June 2003 Rita Maud Shortland was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for "service to community, particularly through the South Australian Women's Information Service".
The Women's Information Service continues to provide free and confidential information and referral services related to issues as diverse as relationships, health, legal matters, women's organisations and financial issues, from its office - Ground Floor Chesser House, 91-97 Grenfell St. Adelaide and website, Women's Information Service and on Facebook
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