Labour Australia

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Lela Laura (Lily) Allen (1899–c. 1990)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

This entry is from People Australia

Lela Laura (Lily) Allen, née Davison [also known as Leila] (1899-c.1990), shorthand typist and Labor activist 

Birth: 4 August 1899 in Jarrow, Durham (now in Tyne and Wear), England, daughter of William Davison (1873-1903), steam-engine draughtsman, and Lela, née Tuddenham. Marriage: 10 December 1926 at Waverley, Sydney, New South Wales, to Robert Golightly Allen. They had one daughter. Death: probably about 1990 in Sydney. 

  • Possibly arrived in Melbourne with her widowed mother and siblings aboard the Port Macquarie in 1914, visited England and returned to Australia in the liner Hobsons Bay, which reached Sydney on 13 September 1926.
  • Active in public protests in the Illawarra district in the 1930s. In January 1932 preferred to be gaoled than pay the fine for an illegal street meeting, and in November again participated with other women against the activities of the North Illawarra Council in banning free speech. Accused of taking, with her husband, “a leading part in protesting against anything and everything” she agreed, arguing that “we were trying to establish the right of free speech”.
  • In 1939 as “a working woman” opposed Menzies government’s sale of pig-iron to Japan and supported Labor.
  • Lived for many years at Corrimal, Wollongong. Later lived at Lidcombe, Sydney. 

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Allen, Lela Laura (Lily) (1899–c. 1990)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 June 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Davison, Lela Laura

4 August, 1899
Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, England


c. 1990 (aged ~ 90)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.