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    Mrs Elsie Byth: Australian delegate to the UN Status of Women Commmission, 1949
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Powell, Eileen (1913 - 1997)

Born
3 August 1913
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Died
19 July 1997
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation
Trade unionist

Summary

Aged fifteen, Eileen Powell joined the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and remained a member for over 45 years. She trained at the Party speakers' classes in Balmain and became Assistant Secretary of the Stanmore Branch in 1929. After working for Grace Brothers (Broadway) Powell commenced work with the Labor Daily. From 1937 until 1944 she worked with the Australian Railways Union, New South Wales Branch. During this period Powell became an organiser for the Railway Refreshment Rooms (RRR) staff and achieved an Industrial Relations award for them. The mostly women workers were not employed directly by the Railways Department, were not covered by other awards and were dispersed throughout railway towns in New South Wales. On their behalf she appeared before the full bench of the NSW Industrial Commission and when the judgement was handed down there was a cut in the spread of hours, provisions for overtime, increased wages and the abolition of the compulsory board and lodging payments. Powell was also a member of the Council of Action for Equal Pay, the ALP Women's Central Organising Committee and the United Associations of Women.

Details

Events

1928 - 1975
Joined the Australian Labor Party. Member for 47 years.
1929
Assistant secretary of the Stanmore Branch of the Australian Labor Party
1935
Gave evidence at the Female Wage Case in the Industrial Commission
1937 - 1944
Organizer with the Australian Railway Union - New South Wales Branch
1937 - 1948
Member of the Council of Action for Equal Pay
August 1938
Appeared for the Australian Railway Union - New South Wales Branch before the full bench of the NSW Industrial Commission
1948
Married Sydney Morning Herald journalist Fred Coleman-Browne
1951
Gained Australian Labor Party preselection in the State seat of North Sydney
1969
Gave evidence at the National Wage Case which adopted the principle of equal pay for equal work
1977
Awarded the Silver Jubilee Medal

Sources used to compile this entry: Hearn, Mark, 1959-, Working lives : a history of the Australian Railways Union (NSW Branch), Hale & Iremonger, Sydney, c1990., 221 pp; Webb, Rosemary, 'Eileen Powell, 1913-1997 (Obituary)', Labour History, vol. 74, 1998, pp. 198-199.

Related entries

Archival resources

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Papers of Fred Coleman-Browne, including papers of his wife, Eileen Powell., c. 1871 - 1968, MSS 3526; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Ros Bowden - interviews conducted for radio programmes and documentaries, c. 1975 - 1989, CY MLOH 304/32-35; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

MLC School, Sydney

  • Eileen Powell - papers, 1912 - 1997, MLMSS 6646; Powell, Eileen (1913 - 1997); MLC School, Sydney. Details

Digital resources

Title
Mrs Elsie Byth: Australian delegate to the UN Status of Women Commmission, 1949
Type
Image
Date
1949

Details

Anne Heywood

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

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