Women's fishing in Australia

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Woman and young child sitting on the beach at Sandgate. The woman appears to be reading to the child, and both are wearing hats. A boatshed and jetty are visible in the background. People are fishing from the jetty.
Woman and child sitting on the beach at Sandgate, Brisbane, ca. 1907

Australia's fishing has been both an essential cultural pastime for women in pre-European Australia, and as a sport in recent times.[when?]

The historical context of women's roles fishing in pre-European cultural context saw extensive involvement [1] and also in more recent times the industry has had specific support from women's involvement [2][3]


Women were competing in fishing derbies by 1936, with their participation rates being higher than men at some events. They continued to participate in the sport during the 1940s. More recently, Game Fishing Association of Australia has several competition classes that women can compete in against other women.


In a 1936 fishing derby, there were more male participants than female participants.[4] Women's fishing was being covered by Australian newspapers during the 1930s.[5][6] The Adelaide Advertiser cited Cleopatra as a reason Australian women should fish, and discussed how one Australian woman has caught more fish than her husband.[6] In 1940, a study of 314 women in New Zealand and Australia was done. Most of the women in the study were middle class, conservative, Protestant and white. The study found that 183 participated in sport. The ninth most popular sport that these women participated in was fishing, with 3 having played the sport. The sport was tied with croquet, billiards, chess, fishing, field hockey, horse racing, squash, table tennis and shooting.[7] In 1952, there was a women's only fishing derby in Sydney.[8]

Competitive fishing[edit]

The Game Fishing Association of Australia has a women only categories for competitions in saltwater, freshwater, saltwater fly, freshwater fly, and land based saltwater.[9]


  1. ^ Roberts, Alex; Schilling, Kath; New South Wales. Dept. of Environment, Climate Change and Water (2010), Aboriginal women's fishing in New South Wales : a thematic history, DECCW, ISBN 978-1-74232-557-6 
  2. ^ Dowling, Jane (2007), Women's contribution to Australian fishing industry sustainability, retrieved 7 January 2012 
  3. ^ Aslin, H. J. (Heather J.); Webb, Trevor; Fisher, Melanie; Australia. Bureau of Rural Science; Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (Australia); Women's Industry Network (Australia) (2000), Fishing for women : understanding women's role in the fishing industry, Bureau of Rural Sciences, retrieved 7 January 2012 
  4. ^ "FISHING COMPETITION.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 27 April 1936. p. 6. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "FOR WOMEN.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 5 January 1938. p. 5. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Women Out Of Doors.". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 27 January 1933. p. 14. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Stell 1991, p. 75
  8. ^ "WOMEN'S FISHING COMPETITION.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 17 May 1952. p. 3. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  9. ^ "Game Fishing Association Australia". Gfaa.asn.au. Retrieved 2011-12-26.