People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Helena Dorrington (1869–1934)

This article was published:

Helena Dorrington, née Armstrong, also known as Eleanor Dorrington (1868-1934) Labor activist 

Birth: 1869 at Goulburn, New South Wales, eldest of thirtheen children of John Arthur Armstrong (1835-1915), born at Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, and native-born Rosanna or Rose, née Shaw (1846-1932) Marriage: to native-born Francis Dorrington, a bootmaker (1860-1940). They had one son who died in infancy. Death: 17 January 1934 at her residence, 4 Northumberland avenue, Stanmore, Sydney. Religion: Catholic.

  • Prominent in the political and industrial activities of the Labour movement for more than a quarter of a century. In Mudgee she devoted herself to many deserving causes. She was agent for the Australian Workers’ Union and many members of that organisation will remember her kind acts in public matters and public responsibilities. She was a keen political fighter, but was a cheerful opponent”.
  • Honorary Secretary of the Stanmore branch of the Australian Labor Party from about 1921 until she retired in 1927. Assisted in election of Labor candidates. On many occasions was a delegate to ALP conferences and served a number of terms on the ALP executive.
  • Her husband, who had joined the ALP in 1889 and founded the Mudgee Political Labor League was expelled from ALP in 1924 after charging two party executives with misconduct.
  • On retirement Mrs Dorrington was presented with a cheque in recognition for her services. In acknowledging the gift she said that “she did not think it fair for the 'recent arrivals' in the Labor Movement to be able to push out holus bolus the many good workers for the Australian Labor cause, and while she did not mind being thrown out of office by the 'Reds' she thought that it was most unfair for men of the type who had been recently thrown out should have been slaughtered in the manner they were”.
  • Severed her connexion with the Lang Labor party when the Scullin government was dismissed from office. Became active in the NSW branch of the Federal Labor Party.
  • Honorary secretary of the Women Workers’ Union for many years until 1934 and assistant honorary secretary of the Women’s Vanguard.

Worker (Sydney), 17 August 1927 p 8.

Additional Resources

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Dorrington, Helena (1869–1934)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Armstrong, Helena
  • Dorrington, Eleanor

Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia


17 January, 1934 (aged ~ 65)
Stanmore, Sydney, New South Wales, 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