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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  • Carrying on the Fight: Women Candidates in Victorian Parliamentary Elections

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Oke, Marjorie (Marj) Elizabeth (1911 - 2003)


18 December 1911
Richmond, Victoria, Australia
14 August 2003
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Community worker and Political candidate
Alternative Names
  • Bennett, Marjorie Elizabeth (maiden name)


Marj Oke's first job was as a teacher in a one-room school. Upon her marriage in 1942, as was the policy of the time, she was suspended from teaching. Working at the Australian Jam Company, she encountered very poor working conditions. This experience propelled her to join the Food Preservers' Union and become active in the Australian Labor Party. She stood as a candidate for the Australian Labor Party in the Legislative Assembly seat of St Kilda under her maiden name, Bennett, at the Victorian state election, which was held in 1943. In 1950, Oke became a founding and lifelong member of the Union of Australian Women. After returning to teaching in Moe, she campaigned for equal pay for women teachers, the abolition of the marriage bar and access to superannuation. Additionally, Oke formed a branch of the Aboriginal Advancement League and became, in 1992, a founding member of the Network for Older Women. On 10 June 1991 she was awarded an OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) for service to aged people, particularly women. Oke was included in the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in March 2002.

Sources used to compile this entry: Victorian Honour Roll of Women 2002 and Union of Australian Women newsletter, September 2003.

Related entries

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Archival resources

The University of Melbourne Archives

  • Oke, Marjorie, 1964 - 1994, 100/206; Oke, Marjorie (Marj) Elizabeth (1911 - 2003); The University of Melbourne Archives. Details

Digital resources

Marjorie Oke


Jane Wilkinson

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