Women for Survival was established in 1983 as an umbrella organisation for a number of feminist peace groups around Australia. As a national peace coalition, its primary purpose was to coordinate the Pine Gap Women’s Peace Camp, which took place at the Joint Defence Space Research Facility at Pine Gap, near Alice Springs, in November 1983. The two-week vigil was a demonstration of support for the women of the peace camps at Greenham Common in the United Kingdom and Comiso in Italy. The peace camp also sought to bring public attention to the presence of a United States base in Australia, and to highlight the nation’s vulnerability as a nuclear target.
Women for Survival saw the Pine Gap facility as a symbol of global violence. The protest was organised around collective action and consensus, using non-violent protest in the form of dance, song, theatre, balloon releases, workshops and speeches. During an event at the vigil, 111 women trespassed onto the base and were arrested. Each gave their name as Karen Silkwood, a prominent American anti-nuclear activist.