Australian Women's Register

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Cunningham, Catherine (1897 - 1988)

Alternative Names
  • Crosby, Catherine (maiden name)


Catherine Cunningham ran for the seat of Coogee, Sydney, in 1948. Her campaign was unsuccessful, but she continued to take a strong interest in politics at local, state and federal levels.


Catherine Crosby was in charge of the typing pool at the Government Printing Office before she married Lucien Cunningham in 1927 at Randwick. The pair had two sons, John and Tony.

Lucien Cunningham was a member for Coogee from 1941 until his death in 1948. That same year, Catherine stood for the seat of Coogee herself, representing the ALP in the by-election. It was a bitter preselection with at least two other candidates vying for the position. Two further contenders, Harry Jensen and Lou Walsh, withdrew from the ballot, but ultimately Catherine was unsuccessful. The seat was won by Kevin Ellis (Lib).

Following John's expulsion from the Labor Party, Catherine and her son began to actively support the DLP. Eventually, John ran for the DLP at both federal and state levels. Coogee was one of the Sydney areas in which the ALP split resonated with particular strength, and the Cunningham family were prominent figures in that dispute.

Sources used to compile this entry: Information from Biographical Register and Cunningham's son, John.

Barbara Lemon

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