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Gilling, Bridget Sabina (1922 - 2009)

London, United Kingdom
Blue Mountains, New South Wales


Bridget Gilling was a lifelong activist and fighter for social justice. She ran as an Independent in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for Bligh in 1971, but the following year she joined the Australia Party. She then stood as their candidate for election into the House of Representatives for Warringah (1972) and for the New South Wales Senate in 1974.


Born in London, Bridget Gilling grew up in a family which was vitally interested in politics. During World War II she served with the Voluntary Aid Detachment and met and married an Australian serviceman, Douglas Gilling, later a prominent architect. They returned to Australia after the war, and their four children were born in Sydney. As they grew up, Bridget Gilling completed an Arts/Social Work degree at the University of Sydney.

At the time of her campaign in Bligh, Bridget Gilling was working for a community agency and was very concerned with birth control and the campaign for abortion law reform.
Her campaign literature was critical of all major parties and their failure to present policies on these subjects, whereas her beliefs and promises on them were spelled out in detail.
She joined the Australia Party and ran under that banner in 1972 and 1974, unsuccessfully.

In 1987, Bridget Gilling was approached as a prominent women's movement activist, to lend her weight to the campaign against the Australia Card proposal, and she agreed to become a trustee of the Australian Privacy Foundation.

In 2004, Bridget Gilling wrote one of the most telling and pithiest letters to the Sydney Morning Herald on the subject of abortion, which remained one of her chosen causes.

Sources used to compile this entry: Ephemera on NSW State and local elections, Box 3, Mitchell Library collection, State Library of NSW, Sydney; (accessed 27 June 2005); Sydney Morning Herald 11 November 2004.

Annette Alafaci

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