Social activities

ANU Club for Women

The ANU Club for Women Inc. was established in 1961 on the initiative of the then Vice-Chancellor's wife, Lady Huxley, to provide much needed and valued support to the families of academics, staff, and visitors coming to the University. In the formative years of the ANU, the members were most active in helping with schooling, language and other forms of support which enabled the new families to quickly assimilate and fit in with the wider community. Originally membership of the Club consisted mostly of wives of academics, past Vice-Chancellors' wives and professional officers of the ANU. Today the membership is broader and is open to all those with a close association with the ANU.

University House Ladies Drawing Room

The Ladies Drawing Room was formed in 1956 to organise social functions for women members and the wives of members of University House. The group took its name from the Room in which they met in University House. The first gathering (a morning tea) attracted nearly 80 women. By the early 1960s a pattern was established of monthly formal lunches, usually with a speaker. The events were both social and intellectual. Early speakers were members of the Drawing Room, e.g. Honor Maude, Nancy Parker and Rosalie Gascoigne.

The Ladies Drawing Room came to play a significant part in its members’ lives. Lifelong friendships were formed which continued long after retirement.

Many served as Convenors, or Committee members for five or more years; a few for many more - Pat Back (14), Lena Karmel (15), Belle Low (10), Jean Moran (20) and Joy Wilson (16).

The Ladies Drawing Room continued to hold regular lunches and other social activities for nearly 50 years until the age of remaining members, and lack of new membership, caused the group to wind up its affairs in 2003.

Ruth Arndt

Ruth Arndt was a qualified social worker who, while unable to practise her profession because her British qualifications were not recognised in Australia, was a tireless advocate and community worker in Canberra, particularly for migrants and foreign students. She taught English to many new arrivals, taught German and Economics at both Canberra Boys' and Girls' Grammar Schools and worked as a research officer in the Department of External Affairs.

She also served on the Governing Body of Bruce Hall and the Australian National University Council (1969-1975) and was president of the Ladies Drawing Room at University House (1982) following her friend, Molly Huxley.