It’s been 50 years since Australia’s first women’s shelter, nicknamed ‘Elsie’ opened in Sydney.

Order of Australia Medal recipient, Ludo McFerran, worked at the refuge in the seventies.

Now retired, she spent more than 40 years supporting women leaving domestic violence, and lobbying governments for change.

Ms McFerran spoke to The Wire about what it was like to work at the refuge back then, whether domestic violence is reducing, and what is needed for real change.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse:

  • 1800 737 732 (1800RESPECT)

Image: In 1974, a group of feminists broke into two empty houses and turned them into Australia’s first women’s shelter. (Image: Elsie Conference)

Produced By: Netta Finney

Featured In Story: Ludo McFerran OAM – Anti-domestic violence and women’s advocate, and

First aired on The Wire, Friday 12 April 2024