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Kathleen Mary (Kitty) Werner (1876–1943)

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Kathleen Mary (Kitty) Werner, née Prunty (also known as Catherine) (1876-1943) anti-conscriptionist and Labor activist 

Birth: 1876 at Bowenvale, Victoria, and registered as Catherine, daughter of Patrick Prunty (1848-1884), born at Killeshandra, County Cavan, Ireland, and Margaret, née Fleming (1846-1915), born at Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Marriage: 1902 in Victoria to Otto Carl Werner (1862-1920) a soap-maker, born at Fitzroy, Victoria, to Prussian-born (German) parents. Kathleen and Otto had six daughters and three sons. Death: 1 February 1943 at Mount Royal, Royal Park, Melbourne; usual residence Lochinvar Street, Pascoe Vale, Coburg, Melbourne. 

  • Kathleen gave birth to a daughter in Western Australia in 1898, another daughter in Broken Hill, New South Wales, in 1901 and to seven children in Melbourne between 1903 and 1915.
  • An Australian Labor Party activist at Prahran, Melbourne, during World War I, she was president of Prahran ALP Women’s Organising Committee and established a soup kitchen for the unemployed in 1915-1916.
  • In 1917 she was a member of Melbourne Trades Hall Council Unemployed Relief Committee and secretary of the Strike Relief Committee of Waterside Workers in 1917. Was prominent on anti-conscription committees in 1916-1917.
  • Elected to first executive of ALP Women’s Central Organising Committee in 1918. Prominent in WCOC activities with Jean Daley and others.
  • In later life she lived in Coburg and was active in West Coburg branch of ALP. Experienced failing health from early 1930s.
  • Cause of death: heart failure (2 days), Parkinson’s disease (some years) and senile dementia (many years).

Labor Call
(Melbourne), 21 September 1933, 1 February 1943; Merrifield card index, State Library of Victdoria.

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Citation details

'Werner, Kathleen Mary (Kitty) (1876–1943)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Prunty, Kathleen Mary
  • Werner, Catherine Mary

Bowenvale, Victoria, Australia


1 February, 1943 (aged ~ 67)
Royal Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death


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.

Political Activism