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Kumm, Frances Gertrude


Community worker and Women's rights activist


Frances Gertrude Kumm (nee Cato), influenced by her mother F.J. Cato and sister Una Porter (nee Cato) - both ardent Young Women's Christian Association supporters - joined the Young Women's Christian Association's National World Fellowship Committee in 1931 and was made president of the Young Women's Christian Association of Melbourne (1943 - 1945).

Kumm held the office of National president from 1945 - 1951, visiting 'all local associations' throughout Australia during this time. She attended the World Young Women's Christian Association Council meetings in China (1947) and Lebanon (1951) and was 'for some time' Vice President of the World Young Women's Christian Association Council.

Instrumental in early Young Women's Christian Association immigration committees, Kumm was elected to the Commonwealth Immigration Advisory Council in 1949 and was President of the Victoria National Council of Women. She received an OBE in 1948 and made the Queen's Birthday Honours List.


Served on numerous committees: National World Fellowship (joined 1931); National Extension (1938-40); Southern Regional (1944). It is claimed in the sources that she had an ongoing interest in immigration issues, which led to her election to the Immigration Advisory Council.

Sources used to compile this entry: Dunn, Margaret, The Dauntless Bunch : The Story of the YWCA in Australia, YWCA,, Clifton Hill, Vic., 1991, 264 pp; McCalman, Janet, 'Kumm, Frances Gertrude (1886-1966)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006,; Warne, Ellen Mary, 'The Mother's anxious future : Australian Christian Women's Organisations meet the modern world, 1890s-1930s', PhD thesis, University of Melbourne, Department of History, 2000, 313 pp; Melbourne University Archives, accessions 85 / 48, 84 / 66, 87 / 74; Young Women's Christian Association Victoria Archives; Young Women's Christian Association Victoria,, accessed 05/05/2004.

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Archival resources

The University of Melbourne Archives

  • Young Women's Christian Association, 1894 - 1984, 84/66; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details

Francesca Bussey

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