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Jean Morant (1899–1984)

This article was published:

Morant, Jean, née Young, late Samson (1899-1984) domestic servant, trade union official and Communist 

Birth: 1899 at Dumfries, Scotland, daughter of William Young and Margaret (Maggie), née Harkness. Marriages: (1) 23 September 1939 in the Congregationalist church at Melbourne, Victoria, Leslie James Samson (1905-1970), a labourer and organiser for the Communist Party, born at Norwich, England. The marriage ended in divorce in February 1956. (2) 5 September 1956 at the office of the Government Statist, Melbourne, Victoria to Albert Granville Morant (1901-1982) a market gardener born in London, England. They had no children. Death: 10 September 1984 in her home at Hesse Street, Queenscliff, Victoria. 

  • Arrived in Australia under a migration program for domestic servants in 1927. Forced to work in domestic service for two years.
  • Sought to join the Australian Labor Party whilst working as a linen keeper at a hotel in St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria. Informed that she was ineligible to join, she was directed to contact the Militant Women's Group, a Communist Party of Australia (CPA)-aligned body. She was subsequently harassed by police for associating with Communists but joined the CPA in 1930, becoming a women's organiser in 1931.
  • Jean Young was active in the Unemployed Workers Movement and helped promote the CPA's The Working Woman; in 1931 helped organise first International Women's Day march in Melbourne; in that same year became full time CPA worker.
  • Active in Wonthaggi coal strike in 1934, especially in the Miners Women's Auxiliary. In later 1930s participated in CPA's Factories campaign; returning to hotel work and becoming active in the Liquor Trades Union.
  • Her first husband served for some six months in the Australian Military Forces during 1939-1940.
  • Jean Samson was part of left-faction which won leadership of the union after long legal battle/organiser for Liquor Trades Union, organising many women in catering industry. Led stoppages at Myers, Coles and the Hotel Alexandra. Was forced to leave position through ill-health in 1942.
  • She was called as a witness at Royal Commission on Communism in 1949.
  • Subsequently CPA secretary for Melbourne South Metropolitan area, building up industrial branches and shop stewards movement and working co-operatively with local ALP.
  • Handicapped by illness in later years. Cause of death: generalised arteriosclerosis (years) and chronic pyometra.

Sources
Tribune
, 19 September 1984.

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Citation details

'Morant, Jean (1899–1984)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/morant-jean-34517/text43371, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Young, Jean
  • Samson, Jean
Birth

1899
Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, Scotland

Death

10 September, 1984 (aged ~ 85)
Queenscliff, Victoria, 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.

Occupation
Key Events
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