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Margerate Mary Sylvia Stapleton (1898–1971)

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Sylvia Stapleton, n.d.

Sylvia Stapleton, n.d.

Margerate [sic] Mary Sylvia Stapleton, née Mitchell [known as Sylvia] (1898-1971) community worker, political activist, alderman 

Birth: 1898 at West Wyalong, New South Wales, daughter of native-born parents Thomas Mitchell (1869-1937, postal employee, and Margaret, née Richards (1871-1942). Marriage: 23 March 1924 at Surry Hills, Sydney, to native-born Robert Record Stapleton (1897-1933), clerk. They had one daughter and one son. Death 22 November 1971 in Prince of Wales hospital, Randwick, Sydney. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Active in the Labor movement from 1914, and a member of the Surry Hills Labor League, “regarded as one of the most fluent platform speakers in the movement” and an active worker in the cause of charity.
  • From about 1917 a member of Labor Women’s Central Organising Committee (LWCOC), she was auditor in 1930 and president from 1931 to 1935. Sometime president of City Hostel for Homeless Women and Girls.
  • Member of ALP State Executive for nine years including 1924-1925. Appointed justice of the peace in December 1924.
  • On the death of her husband, the mayor of Paddington, she was elected alderman for the remainder of his term (to December 1934), becoming the first woman on Paddington Municipal Council. Described as “energetic and forceful".
  • With Mesdames Keating and Caffrey, all former officials of the LWCOC, she travelled to Adelaide, South Australia, in July 1936 to urge the Federal ALP conference to revive the committee, which had been disbanded by the NSW State Labor Conference. They were unsuccessful.
  • With Caffrey, she attended the anti-Lang Sydney conference in January 1938.
  • Cause of death broncho pneumonia (secondary) and cerebro-vascular accident.

Information from S. Tracey 1997; ALP Woman Magazine Special Diamond Jubilee Issue February 1964.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Stapleton, Margerate Mary Sylvia (1898–1971)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Sylvia Stapleton, n.d.

Sylvia Stapleton, n.d.

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Mitchell, Margerate Mary Sylvia

Wyalong, New South Wales, Australia


22 November, 1971 (aged ~ 73)
Randwick, Sydney, New South Wales, 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 Organisations
Political Activism