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Sullivan, Mary Jane (Minnie) (1871–1934)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Mary Jane (Minnie) Sullivan, née Bradley (1871-1934) shearer’s wife and Labor activist

Birth: 1871 at Araluen, New South Wales, daughter of William Bradley, dealer, and Ellen or Ellenor, née Flinn. Marriage: 6 September 1887 at the manse, Wagga Wagga, with Presbyterian forms, to Charles William Sullivan (1870-1942), a labourer. They had three daughters and three sons. Death: 30 June 1934 at her home in Waters Street, Camperdown, Sydney, New South Wales. Religion: Anglican. 

  • Gave birth to six children in Wagga between 1889 and 1904.
  • Began her active connection with the Wagga Wagga Political Labor League in 1891 when she “had the honor to wrap up and address for postage the first edition of the first working-class owned and controlled newspaper issued in Australia, namely, ‘The Hummer,’ which saw the light of day on October 19, 1891 at Wagga Wagga”.
  • She played an important part in the election to Federal Parliament of J. C. Watson for the seat of Bland in March 1901. Reputedly the first woman president of a ladies committee of the Australian Labor Party after the franchise had been extended to women in NSW in 1902.
  • Moved to Sydney in 1911. One of Labors “most colourful personalities and ardent supporters”. Prominent in Surry Hills Branch of ALP with her daughter Grace Marion Browett (1891-1968) who was appointed a justice of the peace in December 1926.
  • In 1929 she was still active in the Surry Hills branch, and was its delegate to the Labor Women’s Central Organising Committee.
  • Cause of death: cancer of gall bladder and metasteses in liver.

Additional Resources

  • profile, Labor Daily (Sydney), 30 November 1929, p 8

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Sullivan, Mary Jane (Minnie) (1871–1934)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/sullivan-mary-jane-minnie-32921/text41008, accessed 6 February 2023.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012