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Alicia Johanna Katz (1876–1964)

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Alicia Katz, n.d.

Alicia Katz, n.d.

Alicia Johanna Katz, née Watkins (1876-1964) political candidate

Birth: 1 July 1876 at, Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria, and registered as Elisia Johanna, daughter of James Austin Watkins (1846-1898), engineer in the electric lighting station, born in Monmouthshire, Wales, and Annie Teresa, née Farley (1842-1897), a cook from County Meath, Ireland. Marriage: April 1900 in St Ambrose Catholic Church, Brunswick, Melbourne, to Frederick Carl (Fred) Katz (1877-1961), hawker and trade unionist. They had one daughter. Death: 7 October 1964 at South Melbourne, usual residence St Vincent Place, Albert Park, Victoria. 

  • Influenced by the 1890s Depression, she became an activist in the Victorian Socialist Party and Women's Socialist League, prior to World War I. Accompanied her husband to Tasmania in 1911 and returned to Melbourne with him and their daughter in 1914.
  • Was a notable public speaker at meetings in Carlton, Richmond, South Yarra and Bijou Theatre. Active anti-conscriptionist during war; founding member Women's Peace Army 1915, concluding speech in 1915 by 'urging all present to join the Peace Army to fight for the ideals of international love and peace'.
  • Having joined the Australian Labor Party, was in 1924 ALP candidate for Barwon — the first woman to stand for a seat in the Victorian parliament (defeated). She described a woman elector who remarked that she “ought to be burned”, “as mild-mannered a pirate as ever scuttled a ship or cut a throat!”
  • In 1925 she was among three women whose names were submitted for Senate pre-selection (ALP) — the others were Muriel Heagney and Jean Daley. She was a long-time member and sometime president of the Labor Women’s Central Organising Committee.
  • Regularly a delegate annual conferences of the ALP, in 1931 she represented the Glass Workers Union. In 1938 the State Government appointed Katz consumer representative on the Wheat Products Prices Commission. She held the post until 1943.
  • Tree planted in Exhibition Gardens, Melbourne, to honour her achievement as first female parliamentary candidate in Victoria.
  • Cause of death: bronchopneumonia.

Damousi, PhD thesis, 1987; Recorder, 157, June 1987; Herald, 3 March 1924; Australian Worker, 28 May 1924, 4 March 1925; Australian Women’s Register,

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Katz, Alicia Johanna (1876–1964)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Alicia Katz, n.d.

Alicia Katz, n.d.

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Watkins, Alicia Johanna
  • Watkins, Elisia Johanna

1 July, 1876
Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


7 October, 1964 (aged 88)
South Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death


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