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Elizabeth Tabitha (Betty) Holdsworth (1904–1980)

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Elizabeth Tabitha (Betty) Holdsworth, née Davies (1904-1980) textile worker, community activist, trade unionist and Communist 

Birth: 1904 at Durham, England, daughter of Lewis Davies, blacksmith’s striker, and Mary Ann, née Thomas. Marriage: (1) 24 October 1927 in the Registrar of Marriages office, Geelong, Victoria, to John William Holdsworth (1906-1966), a labourer and cook, born at Bradford, England. The marriage ended in divorce in 1946. (2) Companion of Mick Fowler (1927-1979), Communist and community activist. Death: 19 April 1980 in her residence at Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales. 

  • Joined Communist Party of Great Britain as a young girl and was active in it after World War I.
  • Migrated to Australia in the late 1920s and joined the Communist Party of Australia, remaining a life-long member.
  • Member of Hotel, Club and Restaurant Employees Union, later Liquor Trades Union. Active job delegate.
  • Well-known as a purveyor of left-wing literature at Sydney Domain meetings and in Kings Cross area where she lived.
  • Affectionately styled 'Red Betty'.
  • Foundation member in 1947 of the Sydney Trade Union Club, Surry Hills. In the 1960s and 1970s with Mick Fowler and Juanita Nielsen was involved with Green Bans in Victoria Street, Potts Point. Also involved in protest demonstrations against the Vietnam War.
  • “She was in every demo she could get to”.
  • Cause of death: subdural haemorrhage.

, 21 May 1980.

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Citation details

'Holdsworth, Elizabeth Tabitha (Betty) (1904–1980)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Davies, Elizabeth Tabitha

Durham, England


19 April, 1980 (aged ~ 76)
Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

subdural hematoma

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