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Anderson, Florence (1871–1949)

Florence Anderson nee Meyer: Born 17 February 1871. Married John Anderson, 1911. 3 children. Died 18 December 1949, Richmond, Melbourne.

First female trade union secretary in Victoria; one of only two female secretaries of state branches of Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union (FMWU) to present day. Began working life as school teacher.  Became office cleaner after death of husband; rebelled from expectation that cleaners take office towels home to launder. Secretary, Female Office Cleaners Union from 1916 (part-time) and full time (1919). 1930, elected Victorian Secretary of Miscellaneous Workers Union holding office until 1946; Federal Councillor of union. Delegate to VTHC,  ACTU, and ALP. Active in campaign for equal pay with Muriel Heagney, Jean Daley and Margaret Wearne. A 'big strong woman', 'the iron hand in the velvet glove, that type of lady'.

ANU Archives Deposit 2370/ box 70; Labor Call, 18 April 1940,  18 April 1946; Federation News, July 1985, December 1990; Merrifield papers; Beasley, The Missos.

Original Publication

  • Biographical Register of the Australian Labour Movement 1788-1975, 2012

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Anderson, Florence (1871–1949)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/anderson-florence-25504/text33847, accessed 3 April 2020.

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