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Elizabeth Rose (Liz) Hanretty (1881–1967)

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This entry is from People Australia

Elizabeth Hanretty, 1928 [detail]

Elizabeth Hanretty, 1928 [detail]

State Library of South Australia, b20513124

Elizabeth Rose (Liz) Hanretty (1881-1967) political activist 

Birth: 1881 at North Adelaide, South Australia, fifth of eleven children of Stephen Hanretty (1836-1888), born at Liverpool, Lancashire, England, and Bridget, née Frawley (1851-1935), born in County Clare, Ireland. Unmarried. Death: 10 October 1967 at Frewville, SA. 

  • After the death of her father she was raised by her mother. Left North Adelaide school aged 12. Trained in typewriting at business college. Was a housemaid and shop assistant. A foundation member of Lilian Locke’s Women Employes’ Mutual Association from 1906, she held every executive position in the association. She was a delegate to the Adelaide Trades and Labor Council and the Eight Hours Committee.
  • Joined North Adelaide committee of the SA United Labor Party in 1905. She was sometime president of the Women’s Branch of the ULP. In 1911-1912 was an Adelaide TLC representative on a royal commission into the scarcity of labour, disbanded by the succeeding government. For nine years she was a member of a government board controlling mental institutions.
  • Appointed permanent organiser for the ULP in April 1914, she was assistant State Secretary of the South Australian branch of the ALP from 1917 to 1956. Vice president of the Anti-Conscription League, 1917. President of first annual conference of Labour Women in 1928.
  • Appointed justice of the peace in 1924 and in 1928 was described as Labor’s best known JP. On 2 May 1947 "a kindly grey-haired woman", she became acting secretary for four months, on the retirement of W. J. Walsh. Continued to be elected to the State executive of the ALP in the 1950s. Appointed MBE in 1957.
  • Cause of death: cerebral vascular accident and hypertension.
  • Hanretty place, in the Canberra suburb Bonython is named for her.

H. J. Gibbney and Ann G. Smith, A Biographical Register 1788-1939, vol 1 (Canberra, 1987); Labour History, No. 59, November 1990 p 3.

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Citation details

'Hanretty, Elizabeth Rose (Liz) (1881–1967)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 June 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Elizabeth Hanretty, 1928 [detail]

Elizabeth Hanretty, 1928 [detail]

State Library of South Australia, b20513124

Life Summary [details]


North Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


10 October, 1967 (aged ~ 86)
Frewville, South Australia, Australia

Cause of Death


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