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Alma Hamilton (1904–1985)

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Alma Hamilton (1904-1985) school teacher, trade unionist and peace activist

Birth: 1904 at Double Bay, Sydney, New South Wales, daughter of native-born parents Joseph Hamilton (1867-1956), policeman, and Mary Jane, née Bailiff (1870-1921). Unmarried. Death: 14 March 1985 in hospital at Kirribilli, Sydney; usual residence Ben Boyd Road, Neutral Bay, Sydney. 

  • She later wrote that her father supported the working class movement all his life; from 1917 he was an unwavering champion of the Soviet Union, and until his last illness was a constant reader of the Communist newspaper, the Tribune.
  • Alma was educated at Fort Street Girls High School, here she was not only dux of the school, but was pre-eminent in sport and was captain of the “A” hockey team. She topped the State in the Leaving Certificate. Obtained a Teachers College Scholarship, graduated in maths and physics from Sydney University.
  • Taught in country schools for twelve years, returning to Sydney in 1940.
  • Active in Secondary Teachers' Association as secretary and assistant secretary, especially in advancing the role and conditions of female teachers, and in asserting the need for unity of this Association with the NSW Teachers Federation. Retired as principal of Fort Street Girls.
  • In the 1940s she joined the Union of Australian Women and the Australia-USSR Society, working on 'Sheepskins for Russia' campaign during World War II. In 1963 she toured the USSR as part of a delegation of educationalists.
  • Active in Australian Peace Council, AICD, PND, participating in demonstrations against French nuclear tests and Vietnam War. President of Australia-USSR Society in late 1960s. Joined Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
  • An inspiration to many young teachers that she 'identified herself so unwaveringly and courageously with non-Establishment causes'.

Sources
Education
, 27 June 1945; 9 June 1976; Tribune (Sydney), 3 April 1985.

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'Hamilton, Alma (1904–1985)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/hamilton-alma-33919/text42500, accessed 21 June 2024.

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