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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Sheehan, Maria (Luisa) (1933 - 2000)

1 October 2000
Women's rights activist
Alternative Names
  • Drescher, Luisa (maiden name, 1933 - 1957)


Maria Luisa Sheehan, nee Drescher, was born in Italy. Her mother was widowed two years later. In 1945, when the region was occupied by Yugoslavia, the family moved to Trieste. Luisa's mother married an English officer and in 1952 the family joined him in Khartoum. From there they emigrated to South Australia in 1955 where two of Luisa's uncles had already settled. Luisa found work immediately and within two years married a fellow employee at Philips Electrical Industries. She left the workforce for 21 years while raising her family. In 1978 she returned to paid work as one of the six original staff members of the Women's Information Switchboard. Luisa worked there as an information officer until her retirement in 1993.

Sources used to compile this entry:,-1,0,B/frameset&FF=atonkin+miriam+1928&1,1, accessed 2004-02-02; Australian Cemeteries Index,

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Archival resources

State Library of South Australia

  • Interview with Luisa Sheehan [sound recording] Interviewer: Helen Chryssides, 4 August 1994, OH 250/20; Oral History of Women's Political Activity; J. D. Somerville Oral History Collection; Sheehan, Maria (Luisa) (1933 - 2000); State Library of South Australia. Details

Robin Secomb

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

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