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.

Ephraim (Dave) Freedman (1883–1957)

This article was published:

This entry is from People Australia

Ephraim (Dave) Freedman, born Ephraim Friedman (1883-1957) shop assistant, public servant and trade union official.

Birth: 18 August 1883 at Horsham, Victoria, and registered as Ephraim, son of Abraham Friedman (b.1859), draper, born in Poland [then part of Russian empire] and native-born Flora, née Simmons (1858-1914). Marriages: (1) [as Ephraim] 23 June 1914 at Perth, Western Australia, to Ethel Morrill (1889-1920), a nurse, born at Bradford, Yorkshire, England. They had two daughters. (2) [as Ephraim David, civil servant] 1 August 1939 at the office of the District Registrar, Fremantle, WA, to native-born Irene Florence, née Pearson, late Taylor (1901-1945), a widow with three daughters. Death: [as David Ephriam] 5 January 1957 in hospital at Seymour, Victoria; usual residence Puckapunyal. Religion: Anglican. 

  • In his youth was active in socialist movement in Victoria and South Africa.
  • Moved with family to South Africa at an early age. Remained there until his early twenties. Foundation member of South African Labor Party.
  • Returned to Victoria, became enthusiastic supporter of Tom Mann.
  • To Western Australia about 1908. In January 1912 was chairman of conference of West Australian Socialist Party and foundation member of party.
  • From 1912 to 1933, delegate to Metropolitan Council of Australian Labor Party, WA. Served on central executive and was co-trustee; delegate to State executive and trustee in 1917. Treasurer 1921 Labor Day celebrations.
  • Worked as shop assistant in Perth and became shop steward. Within 12 months was vice-president of Perth Shop Assistant’s Union. Within 18 months was president, holding post for three years. In 1913 was general president of board governing shops assistants in Perth, Fremantle and Midland junction. Served twelve months in post and afterwards was vice-president and auditor on several occasions.
  • In 1916 was organiser, in 1920 acting secretary and from July 1920 was general secretary of the Metropolitan Shop Assistants’ Union, organising new branches in several centres. In 1921-1923 was also secretary of the Metropolitan Hairdressers and Wigmakers’ Employees Industrial Union of Workers, W.A.
  • In December 1920 Freedman organised successful protest and stopwork march to agitate for abolition of Friday night shopping. A Westralian Worker report in 1923 described the bespectacled union leader as “an all-round Laborite and one of the most indefatigable workers the movement possesses.”
  • In March 1924 [as Ephraim] was Labor candidate for State Legislative Assembly seat of Subiaco.
  • Owing to ill health he resigned as general secretary of the Shop Assistant’s Union in March 1928. In the 1930s and 1940s he was a public servant and an inspector in the Factories Department. Last appears in Western Australian electoral roll in 1954 at Fremantle South.
  • Cause of death: coronary occlusion, myocarditis and diabetes.

Westralian Worker
(Perth), 3 August 1923; Western Argus, 6 February 1912; Dawnward, July 1912.

Additional Resources

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Freedman, Ephraim (Dave) (1883–1957)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Friedman, Ephraim
  • Freedman, David Ephriam

18 August, 1883
Horsham, Victoria, Australia


5 January, 1957 (aged 73)
Seymour, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Organisations
Political Activism