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Anderson, Florence (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'.

Sources
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, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/anderson-florence-25504/text33847, accessed 29 January 2023.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012