Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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Coxsedge, Joan Marjorie

The Honourable

Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Political activist and Parliamentarian
Alternative Names
  • Rochester, Joan Marjorie (maiden name)


Joan Coxsedge was the first Labor woman to be elected to the Victorian Legislative Council as the Member for Melbourne West Province in July 1979. She served until 1992. While in office she wrote and produced the newsletter, Hard Facts For Hard Times, from her Footscray office, in which she offered a left view of current local, national and international events.

(Source: Historical Note Melbourne University Archives)


Joan Coxsedge was born in Ballarat, Victoria daughter of Roy Selwyn Rochester, Clerk and Marjorie Gordon. She was educated at Ormond State School, Gardenvale Central School and MacRobertson Girls' High School. A professional artist, she held four exhibitions of pen and wash drawings of historic buildings and undertook a commission for the Builders' Labourers' Federation drawing Green Bans buildings around Australia in 1975.

As a member of the Save Our Sons Movement which opposed conscription for the Vietnam War, she went to gaol in 1971 for anti-conscription activities. She campaigned against Ustashi in 1972 , opposed secret service organisations and was founding Chairman of the Committee for the Abolition of Political Police in 1973.

A member of the Australian Labor Party from 1967, Coxsedge contested unsuccessfully the Legislative Assembly seat of Balwyn in 1973 and stood for pre-selection in Richmond in 1976 against the Leader of the Opposition, Clyde Holding.

Coxsedge was elected to the Legislative Council in July 1979 and served until 1992.

Related entries

Archival resources

The University of Melbourne Archives

  • Coxsedge, Joan, 1980 - 1992, 92/93; Coxsedge, Joan Marjorie; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details

Anne Heywood

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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