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Zelda D'Aprano (1928–2018)

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Zelda D'Aprano, née Orloff (1928-) trade union official and feminist 

Birth: 24 January 1928, in Melbourne, daughter of Simson Orloff, coachbuilder and wheelwright, and Rachel Lea, both parents Jewish immigrants from Ukraine, Lea CPA activist. Marriage: 1944 to Charles D’Aprano, active in Italia Libera and Communist Party of Australia. They had two daughter and a son. Separated 1965. Divorced. Death: 21 February 2018. 

  • Educated Lee Street primary School, Carlton North, and Brunswick Domestic Arts School. Left school aged fourteen to become factory worker, later dental nurse.
  • Joined Communist Party of Australia in 1950. Union shop steward and official sub-branch Hospital Employees Federation (No. 2 branch) 1958-1966. 1969 joined office staff of Meat Industry Union.
  • Chained herself across doors of Commonwealth Building and again at Arbitration Court, Melbourne, 1969 in support of equal pay for women. Dismissed by communist union secretary for criticising his treatment of office staff. Ostracised by other male union bosses for being open about dismissal. Resigned from CPA 1971.
  • One of three women who started Women's Action Committee 1970, which became Women's Liberation Movement 1971. While employed at Melbourne Mail Exchange, was monitored by ASIO.

Zelda' D'Aprano, Zelda, (Spinifex Press, Melbourne, 1995); Who’s Who in Australian Women; information from Z. D'Aprano.

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Citation details

'D'Aprano, Zelda (1928–2018)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Orloff, Zelda

24 January, 1928
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


21 February, 2018 (aged 90)
Victoria, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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