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Matilda Lemmon (1841–1938)

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Matilda Lemmon, née Thompson (1841-1938) Labor activist 

Birth: 22 September 1841 at Coleraine, Ireland, daughter of John Thompson (1810-1876), schoolmaster, and Annabella, née McGrath (1811-1871). Marriage: 23 May 1861 at Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria, to Samuel Lambert Lemmon (1832-1902) a timberworker, born in Londonderry, Ireland. They had seven daughters and three sons, one of whom John Lemmon was a Labor politician. Death: 25 August 1938 at Preston, Melbourne. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • Arrived in Melbourne aboard the Wanata with parents and siblings on 4 October 1854.
  • Known as the 'mother of Trades Hall', Melbourne, associated with the Trades Hall for more than 50 years, succeeding her husband as caretaker in 1902.
  • Cause of death: broncho-pneumonia, myocarditis and heart failure.
  • Funeral in 1938 was attended by leading members of the Victorian labour movement including John Cain, Australian Labor Party State leader. She was then 'one of the oldest links in the Victorian Labor Movement'.

Obituary Labor Call (Melbourne), 1 September 1938, p 9.

Additional Resources

  • funeral, Argus (Melbourne), 29 August 1938, p 9

Citation details

'Lemmon, Matilda (1841–1938)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Thompson, Matilda

22 September, 1841
Coleraine, Londonderry, Ireland


25 August, 1938 (aged 96)
Preston, 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.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Organisations
Political Activism