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Mary Theresa (Tessie) Coleman (1890–1957)

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Mary Theresa ('Tessie') Coleman (1890-1957), trade union official

Birth: 1890 at Windsor, New South Wales, daughter of James Michael Coleman (1857-1906), tannery proprietor, and Emily Kate, née Marsh (1865-1924). Unmarried. Death: 18 December 1957 in hospital at Lewisham, Sydney. Religion: Catholic. 

  • In 1910 was one of four pioneers of Printing Trades Women and Girls Employees Union of New South Wales. Foundation assistant secretary and from 1913 to 1917 full-time paid secretary of union.
  • In 1915 successfully organised women in printing trades in Queensland, as she had done in New South Wales, where union membership had grown from 60 members in 1912 to 500 in 1915.
  • Retired in 1917 having 'overtaxed her powers' and union disssolved into the Printing Industry Employees’ Union of Australia.
  • In later life was an accountant living with her brother, Edward Pierce Coleman, a clerk, at Lewisham, Sydney.
  • Cause of death: hepatic failure, mitarative deposits, ovarian carcinoma.

Australasian Typographical Journal
, 14 October 1915; Printing Trades Journal, 8 May 1917, February 1958.

Citation details

'Coleman, Mary Theresa (Tessie) (1890–1957)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Windsor, New South Wales, Australia


18 December, 1957 (aged ~ 67)
Lewisham, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

liver dysfunction

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.

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