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.

Eileen Mary McMahon (1886–1981)

This article was published:

Eileen Mary McMahon, later McLoughlin (1886-1981) journalist, feminist and Socialist

Birth: 1886 at Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria, eldest of three daughters of William Ponsonby McMahon (1851-1933), a schoolteacher, later journalist, born at Hobart, Tasmania, and Mary Catherine, née Murphy (1858-1909). Marriage: 1922 in Victoria to Edward Michael McLoughlin. They had no children. Death: 7 October 1981 at Greenvale Geriatric Centre, Greenvale, Melbourne. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Her father was a prominent Catholic layman, sometime compositor, schoolteacher and journalist, who started a short-lived Labor and Liberal paper, the Tribune, in Melbourne in the 1870s. He was first headmaster of St Francis Xavier’s Boys Secondary School in Launceston, Tasmania, in the 1880s, then edited another Catholic journal, also named Tribune, in Melbourne from its founding in 1900 to 1919. He was sometime organising secretary of the Australian Catholic Federation.
  • His eldest daughter was probably the Socialist and anti-conscriptionist Eileen McMahon who was active in Melbourne during World War I and reputedly an actor.
  • In electoral rolls from 1909 to 1917 she was living with her father and sister at East Melbourne and gave her occupation as typiste in 1909 and, later, as journalist. She contributed to her father’s journal, which was a prominent opponent of conscription. One of her columns was a vivid account of the Women’s Anti-Conscription Procession in October 1916. She also wrote for the Woman Voter (Melbourne).
  • She was a member of the Women's Political Association until June 1917, then of the Socialist Labor Party, the only woman SLP member to address party members (July 1917). Joined fellow Party members Ernest Judd and James Moroney in Domain agitation and the Anti-Conscription League.
  • In 1919 the family was living at Simpson Street, East Melbourne, and Eileen was a bookseller. After her marriage, nothing is currently known of her until her death some fifty years later.
  • Cause of death: hypostatic pneumonia (2 days), senile dementia (years) and osteoporosis.

Joy Damousi, Socialist Women in Australia, c.1890-c.1918, Ph.D thesis, ANU, 1987; information from J. Damousi, 1991.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'McMahon, Eileen Mary (1886–1981)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • McLoughlin, Eileen Mary

Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


7 October, 1981 (aged ~ 95)
Greenvale, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death


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 Events
Political Activism