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Elizabeth Mabel Hanson (1909–1988)

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Elizabeth Mabel Mapleston Hanson, née Walton (1909-1988) dressmaker, peace activist, feminist and Communist 

Birth: 25 March 1909 at Charleville, Queensland, daughter of English-born parents Henry John Walton (1857-1930), from Kentish Town, London, photographer, and Gertrude Mable (Peggy), née Mapleston (1876-1963), from Kingston, Surrey. Marriage: 27 September 1935 at Brisbane, to Edward John (Jack) Hanson (1908-1967), a native-born painter and union official. They had one son. Death: 23 December 1988 at Brisbane. 

  • After winning a scholarship she attended Brisbane Grammar School for two years from the age of 12, before poor family circumstances dictated that she leave school. In the 1931 electoral roll her occupation was shown as dressmaker.
  • Active in Australian Labor Party before leaving to join the Communist Party of Australia (CPA), of which she was a member for life.
  • In 1937 she joined the Queensland Women's Peace Movement and participated in the campaign to boycott Japanese goods because of invasion of China.
  • In 1939 she became secretary of Queensland Trades and Labor Council Women's Auxiliary, agitating for equal pay for women and assisting workers' families during strikes.
  • stood as a Communist candidate for the Brisbane City Council in May 1952, and for the Federal seat of Bowman in April 1951 and May 1954.
  • Founding member of Union of Australian Women. Helped establish Holland Park Child Care Centre and was active in CPA affairs.
  • Cause of death: metastatic carcinoma of bladder.
  • Her husband, a prominent trade union official and Communist, was the son of Queensland parliamentarian Ted Nanson.

, 22 February 1989.

Additional Resources

  • profile, Brisbane Telegraph, 27 April 1949, p 8

Citation details

'Hanson, Elizabeth Mabel (1909–1988)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Walton, Elizabeth Mabel

25 March, 1909
Charleville, Queensland, Australia


23 December, 1988 (aged 79)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (bladder)

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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism