People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Mary McLagan (1888–1971)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Mary McLagan, née Clark (1888-1971), Labor and community activist and mayoress

Birth: 8 April 1888 at Dundee, Scotland, daughter of Henry Clark (1860-1915), mill hoist later elevator attendant, and his first wife Mary Mahady (1864-1901), mill spinner. Marriage: 3 June 1912 at Cowdenbeath, Fife, Scotland, to Alexander Buik McLagan (1888-1970). They had four daughters and five sons, one of whom died in infancy. Death: 28 August 1971 at Mayfield, Newcastle NSW. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • Followed her husband to Australia, departing London with her eldest daughter aboard the Demosthenes on 17 April 1915. Settled at Carrington, in Newcastle, where her husband worked as a coal trimmer (wharf labourer) and she gave birth to seven more children.
  • Was an active lady mayoress of Carrington in 1928-1930 and 1933-1934.
  • Prior to the birth of her last baby she was a keen tennis player.
  • An enthusiastic worker for the Australian Labor Party. Member of the Carrington branch of the Labor Women’s Central Organising Committee and was active in dealing with the housing question.
  • President of the Carrington branch of the Hospital women’s committee.
  • From 1937 she was president of the Newcastle Housewives Association (NHA) until she retired in March 1950 to become the NHA’s first patroness. Remained active in the NHA during the 1950s. Supporter of International Women’s Day.
  • Cause of death: congestive cardiac failure, myocardial infarction 5 years, myocardial infarction 3 years, myocardial infarction 1 month and myocardial infarction 5 days.

Additional Resources

  • profile, Newcastle Morning Herald (NSW), 17 February 1934, p 12

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'McLagan, Mary (1888–1971)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Mary McLagan, 1934

Mary McLagan, 1934

Newcastle Morning Herald (NSW), 17 February 1934, p 12

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Clark, Mary

8 April, 1888
Dundee, Forfarshire, Scotland


28 August, 1971 (aged 83)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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.

Passenger Ship
Key Organisations
Political Activism