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Biographical entry Dunkley, Louisa

Trade Union - Official


An employee of the Chief Telegraph Office in Melbourne, Louisa Dunkley came to be a dominant and early advocate of equal pay rights for women. Rebuked by a union that persisted with bans on female members, Dunkley and other disenfranchised female telegraph employees established the Victorian Women's Post & Telegraph Association in 1899. Not only was Dunkley, through her skills in oratory and advocacy, able to raise awareness of the injustice of differential pay on the basis of sex, she was also able to win pay increases for women. Through years of letter writing, lobbying and demonstrating, Dunkley was largely responsible for the acceptance of equal pay and status for women, which was enshrined in the first Public Service Act of 1902. Louisa Dunkley married Edward Kraegen, a founding member of the Australian Commonwealth Post & Telegraph Association [ACPTA], in 1904. The Victorian Women's Post & Telegraph Association continued its existance eventually as part of the ACPTA.

Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Baker, John S., 'Pioneers of our industrial history: The women telegraphists of Melbourne and their union, 1885-1920', Recorder, no. 92, 1978, pp. 6-13. Details

Ross G. Elford