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Greenwood, Irene Adelaide (1898 - 1992)

AM

Born
9 December 1898
Albany, Western Australia, Australia
Died
1992
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Occupation
Feminist, Peace activist, Activist, Pacifist, Broadcaster and Writer
Alternative Names
  • Driver, Irene (maiden name)

Summary

A tireless campaigner and activist for over fifty years, Irene Adelaide Greenwood's interests in feminism and the peace movement were formed through her mother Mary Driver's involvement with the Women's Services Guild. The achievements of Greenwood's life's work are considerable and her commitment and energy was recognized in the many awards bestowed on her. These include Member of the Order of Australia, the first woman to receive an Honorary Doctorate at Murdoch University, recognition as the strategist behind the implementation of the Chair in Peace Studies at Murdoch University, the United Nations Association of Australia Silver Peace Medal and honorary life membership, Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal, appointment to the National Advisory Committee on Women's Affairs in 1974 and the naming of the flagship of the State ship's fleet M.V. Irene Greenwood in her honour. Greenwood was also a life or honorary member of many key international, national and state peace and women's organizations.

Details

As early as 1916 Irene Greenwood was sensitized to issues of social justice sharing her mother's concern for the oppression of Aborigines and women. In 1920 she participated in Perth's first strike by civil servants marking the beginning of a long career in political activism. In 1931 she moved from Perth to Sydney where she began a career in broadcasting, at the same time developing a radical political consciousness and experience in the women's movement. Returning to Perth in 1935 she worked on the ABC's Women's Session and then moved to commercial radio instituting the popular Woman to Woman programme. Greenwood retired from radio in 1953. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, she intensified her involvement in the women's and peace movements, traveling as a delegate to national conferences and forums and in 1965 to The Hague and Zurich for the Golden Jubilee Congress of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She edited Peace and Freedom the official organ for Women's International League for Peace and Freedom until she was into her seventies. Locally Greenwood was party to the formation of the Western Australian Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity and edited Equal Pay News for the duration of the organization's existence. She participated in the foundation of Western Australian branches of the Family Planning Association, the Abortion Law Repeal Association, Women's Liberation and Women's Electoral Lobby. Greenwood expressed a special love for history, organising displays of the founders of the Women's Movement and documenting the history of Western Australian women's organizations and feminism. She bestowed a vast archive of unique and rare material relating to women and the peace movement to Murdoch University.

(As Giles (1999) notes Greenwood publicly changed her date of birth to 1899 to coincide with the year that non-Indigenous women won the vote in Western Australia)

Sources used to compile this entry: Baldock, C V, 'In Memoriam ; Irene Adelaide Greenwood 1992', Australian Feminist Studies, vol. 17, no. 104 Autumn, 1993; Giles, Patricia, 'Irene Greenwood: 1899(sic)-1992, a hero of the feminist movement', in National Labor History Conference, The Frontier of Labor, Perth, 2 October 1997; Giles, Patricia, 'Irene Greenwood; a hero of the feminist movement 1899-1992.', Papers in labour history, No. 21, Jan/Feb, 1999, pp. 56-69; Lewis, Julie, 1925-2003, On air : the story of Catherine King and the ABC Women's Session, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, Fremantle, W.A., 1979, 161 pp; Richardson, John Andrew, 'The limits of authorship : the radio broadcasts of Irene Greenwood, 1936-1954', Hons thesis, Murdoch University, 1988, 111 pp; Greenwood, I. Go Proudly as a Woman. nd.np. ; 'Irene Greenwood- autobiography of feminist activist' in As a woman: writing women's lives. n.p , 1992. ; 'Irene Greenwood - interview with W.A.'s leading feminist.' Western Mail Magazine, 7-8 Feb. 1987, p. 23, 25.

Related entries

Related Cultural Artefacts

Archival resources

JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia

  • [Interview with Irene A. Greenwood] [sound recording] / [interviewed by Clive Moore], 1979, OH20 A/r , OH320S/r , OH320 A/m, OH320 S/m; Greenwood, Irene Adelaide (1898 - 1992); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • [Interview with Irene Greenwood, feminist], 1 August 1982, OH1094 A/r, OH1094 T/r, OH1094 A/m, OH1094 T/m; Greenwood, Irene Adelaide (1898 - 1992); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • [Interview with Irene Greenwood] [sound recording] / [interviewed by Nancy Lutton], 1981, OH542/2 A/r OH542/2 A/m; Greenwood, Irene Adelaide (1898 - 1992); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • [Interview with Irene Greenwood] [sound recording] / [interviewed by Ken Spillman], 1983, OH1355 A/r, OH1355 S/r, OH1355 A/m, OH1355 S/m; Greenwood, Irene Adelaide (1898 - 1992); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • [Interview with Irene Greenwood] [sound recording] / [interviewed by Nancy Lutton]., 1984, OH 1291 A/r , OH 1291 T/r, OH1291 A/m, OH1291 T/m; Greenwood, Irene Adelaide (1898 - 1992); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • Interview with Irene Greenwood] [sound recording] / [interviewed by Rica Erikson], 1985, OH1333 A/r, OH1333 A/m; Greenwood, Irene Adelaide (1898 - 1992); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • [Interview with Mrs Irene Greenwood] [sound recording] / [interviewed by Gillian Waite]., 1975, OH480 A/r, OH480 A/m; Greenwood, Irene Adelaide (1898 - 1992); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia Records, 1909 - 1992, ACC 2530A, 4343A-4347A; Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia (1909 - 1997); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details

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

  • Jean Fleming Arnot - personal and professional papers, 1890-1995, 1890 - 1995, MLMSS 3147 ADD-ON 2070/1-15; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Lorelei Booker Papers; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

Murdoch University

National Library of Australia

  • [Conversation with Irene Greenwood] [sound recording] / [interviewer: Hazel de Berg], 7 March 1976, ORAL DeB 916; Greenwood, Irene Adelaide (1898 - 1992); National Library of Australia. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Greenwood, Irene Papers, 1912 - 1981, MS 7737; Greenwood, Irene Adelaide (1898 - 1992); National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Jessie Street, 1914 - 1968, MS 2683; Street, Jessie Mary Grey (1889 - 1970); National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Records of the Australian Federation of Women Voters, 1920 - 1983, NLA MS 2818; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room

  • [Biographical cuttings on Irene Greenwood]; National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room. Details

Denise Tallis

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