About Us

The Penguin Club was founded in Sydney in 1937 by women for women. It was one of the first organisations to give women the opportunity to develop communication skills, in an era when women were not active in public life.

At our group meetings the emphasis is on participation and practice. With administration at a minimum, there is more time for members to practise prepared and impromptu speeches, participate in workshops, gain experience running meetings and generally gain confidence in communicating.

The Penguin Club gives members the guidance and opportunities to develop the confidence and communication skills needed to hold office in business and community organisations, and to fulfill their personal goals. We offer a supportive network based on the values of friendship, integrity and respect.

Our members contribute to the community by presenting workshops, coaching young people in public speaking skills and volunteering to assist refugee women to develop their English speaking skills.

We are a national organisation with a collaborative structure. Local groups of up to 20 women meet throughout metropolitan and country areas.

Two weeks ago Amanda and I attended a comedy workshop, talk about new dimensions! Neither Amanda nor I had visions of becoming a stand up comedian but we all know that humour is a great way to cope with and negotiate life.

The presenter’s name was Maggie and first up and most importantly Maggie said this is a safe place, and I thought of The Penguin Club and how that is what we create, a safe place where we can be steered and cheered. I don’t think I could have done the comedy workshop if not for my Penguin Club experience. I realised that my Penguin experience has taught me to trust, to trust that you are not sitting there waiting for me to fail or horror of horror make a fool of myself. You are there actively willing me to succeed, and knowing that, that allows me to believe I can succeed.



What hasn’t The Penguin Club done for me?  I can remember many years ago at an Anniversary Dinner, saying that The Penguin Club has been the greatest single influence of change in my life, and everyone turned and looked and said ‘What about him?” (pointing to my husband).  I turned from a shy, introverted, convent bred little girl that didn’t have an opinion till she was twenty five.  The Penguin Club really has changed my life dramatically in so many ways.  The social side of it is wonderful allowing yourself to to be your self and increasing your confidence and realising your own worth.


hoa“The Penguin Club has changed my life. I was a shy person with full ambition. I was limited in many ways. I stutter, English is not my first language and I often feel nervous. In The Penguin Club’s fun and supportive environment I do not only gain communication skills via workshops but also knowledge from other ladies. I feel safe to express myself fully, hence increase confidence. Membership fees and time spent attending Penguin Club meetings are a small thing compared to a huge achievement I get out of the club. To my surprise, I won the Dietrich Speaking Competition for 2013. The Penguin Club has brought out the best in me which sometimes I didn’t know I have. I will definitely continue to attend The Penguin Club and enjoy the benefit that it brings to me. The Penguin Club is the right club for a shy and ambitious person like me and maybe may others.”


paulaPaula Wriedt

“As a former Minister for Women I love the fact that The Penguin Club of Australia was founded to give women an opportunity to develop their communication skills-especially when you consider it began back in 1937 when women weren’t encouraged to be vocal in their communities.

My journey with The Penguin Club began through a friend in 1994. I’d had the realisation that despite a lot of debating  and public speaking that I had participated in throughout High school, that I hadn’t maintained these skills.  My involvement in the Club was further fueled when I decided a year later to seek election to Tasmania’s House of Assembly- at the age of just 26.  At that time I was amongst the first group of ‘young women’ to stand for Parliament, something quite novel to both the media and the public at the time, so it was a daunting prospect.

The public speaking skills that I was able to learn at Penguin Club meetings gave me the confidence I need to succeed in my 13 year Parliamentary career.  In particular learning to cope well with impromptu speeches was exactly what I needed for my chosen job as a politician-the ability to stand up and speak off the cuff with only a moments’ notice but also to have it make sense and be convincing.  In addition, the meeting procedures I learned gave me the experience I needed to be able to run or participate in a meeting effectively with the assurance that I could do well.

Penguin Clubs are empowering for women of all ages and backgrounds.  They allow you to develop yourself in a way that perhaps you wouldn’t imagine.  You will learn, you will laugh and you will make friends.  Do yourself a favour and find your local Club today and join up.”

Paula Wriedt

Former Tasmanian Minister and MP  (1996-2009)

Currently Deputy Lord Mayor   Kingsborough Council