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Florence Anderson (1871–1949)

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Florence Anderson née Meyer (1871-1949) trade union official

Born: 17 February 1871, Bairnsdale, Victoria. Married: John Anderson, 1911. They had three children. Died: 18 December 1949, Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria.

  • 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; Margo Beasley, The Missos: a history of the Federated Miscellaneous Workers' Union (Sydney, 1996).

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Anderson, Florence (1871–1949)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 16 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Meyer, Florence

17 February, 1871
Bairnsdale, Victoria, Australia


18 December, 1949 (aged 78)
Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Organisations
Political Activism