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Edna Catherine Fegan (1910–1998)

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Edna Catherine Fegan, née Stack (1910-1998) textile worker and gaoled social activist

Birth: 8 August 1910 at Tenterfield, New South Wales, daughter of Richard Stack (1869-1949) and Mary Elizabeth Muller (1884-1962). Marriage: April 1932 at Glebe, Sydney, to John (Jack) Fegan (1908-1981), unemployed activist and later stage and television actor, born at Belfast, Ireland. They had three sons. The marriage ended in divorce in 1947. Death: 29 April 1998 at a nursing home in the Australian Capital Territory. 

  • In 1920s and early 1930s she lived with her parents and five sisters in Annandale, Sydney. With her sister Norma she was a textile worker (‘looper’) at Bonds hosiery mill.
  • Organised women workers unofficially to counter neglect by Textile Workers’ Union. Sacked for collecting strike funds at work during 1929 timberworkers’ strike, but found similar employment elsewhere.
  • Active in Unemployed Workers’ Movement (UWM) and anti-eviction campaigns in early 1930s, addressing street corner meetings. Family held open house every Sunday for UWM members.
  • Arrested and jailed for seven days in 1931 after refusing to pay a fine for assaulting police during an anti-eviction incident in Leichhardt (the assault was actually carried out by her sister Norma). Whilst in jail she befriended underworld figure Kate Leigh.

Papers of J. Fegan, in possession of Dr B. Fegan and MSS by B. Fegan, ‘Family History of the Fegans’, unpublished, 1980s.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Fegan, Edna Catherine (1910–1998)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 26 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Stack, Edna Catherine

8 August, 1910
Tenterfield, New South Wales, Australia


29 April, 1998 (aged 87)
Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Cause of Death


Key Events
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