The Lead Up to the Ordination of Women as Priests 1992

Janet Scarfe, MOW president 1989-1995

The year 2022 marks 30 years since the Anglican Church in Australia (narrowly) agreed in November 1992 that women could be ordained priest. Ironically, there were already twelve women who were priests. Ten had been ordained in Perth by Archbishop Peter Carnley on 7 March, the Feast Day of Perpetua AND International Women’s Day. Ironically one of them, Kay Goldsworthy, now Archbishop of Perth, was a member of that General Synod! Two other women had been ordained elsewhere: Caroline Pearce and Dawn Kenyon.

The year 1992 began with the church, its leaders, women who were deacons and lay supporters in turmoil. There were court injunctions and the infamous ‘non-ordination’ in Canberra-Goulburn. Then on 7 March, the first ordinations, in Perth, which caught many – including the opponents – by surprise.

Here are excerpts the MOW Magazine Nov 1992 which capture something of the chaos, the pace of developments, the sorrow and finally the excitement.

Never let it be said that the ordination of women in the Anglican Church here in Australia came easily or as a matter of course.

MOWMagazine Nov1992 p4-6

MOWMagazine Nov 1992 p11-14


MOW Magazine November 1992