Beadle, Jean (1868-1942)

Also known as
Beadle, Jean (1867-1942)
Miller, Jane (1867-1942)
Miller, Jean (1867-1942)
Field of activity
Feminist; Social Worker
NLA Persistent Identifier
https://nla.gov.au/nla.party-743067

Biographies

After being exposed to 'sweated labour' conditions while working in the Melbourne clothing industry during the 1880s, Jean Beadle was inspired to dedicate her life to the betterment of conditions for women and children. Known as the 'The Grand Old Lady of the Labor Party,' she was a founding member of the Women's Political and Social Crusade and the Labor Women's Organization in Victoria (1898), Fremantle (1905) and Goldfields (1906). She was also a delegate to the Eastern Goldfields District Council of the State Australian Labor Party. Beadle was one of the first women appointed as a Justice of the Peace in Western Australia, sitting for many years on the Married Women's Court. She was later appointed to serve as an honorary Justice on the bench of the Children's Courts. An official visitor to the women's section of the Fremantle Prison, Beadle also was instrumental in the building of the King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women. She was secretary, of the King Edward Memorial Hospital Advisory Board, from 1921 until her death. In recognition of her dedicated service the hospital annually awards a Jean Beadle scholarship.

Jane (Jean) Beadle was born on 1 January 1868 at Clunes in Victoria. She was a miner's daughter. In Melbourne as a young woman she began her life-long activism for labour and progressive causes. She married iron moulder Henry Beadle on 19 May 1888 and had three children as she continued her political and industrial work. In 1901 the family decided to migrate to Western Australia to 'make some money'.

Jean organised the Women's Labor League in 1905 at the port of Fremantle where she initially lived. When the family moved to Boulder in 1906, she formed the Eastern Goldfields Women's Labor League, with meetings held alternately in Boulder and Kalgoorlie. Prejudice was strong in some quarters, the newspaper labelling the meetings a 'convention of cackle'. She knew that, if women were to play an equal role in the life of the labour movement, they had to be active in both political and industrial labour. And she had no time for the notion of women's frailty, insisting that 'sometimes, it's the man who's the clinging vine'.

As well as promoting labour causes, Jean and the League campaigned for a maternity ward at the Boulder Hospital, the registration of nurses and a foundling home for abandoned babies. She organised the goldfields shop assistants to fight for better pay and conditions (chiefly shorter hours).

She spoke at public meetings, organised fundraisers for strikers' families, ran public lectures, travelled around the goldfields' towns to establish League branches and represented the League on many labour bodies.

Jean Beadle was a Labor leader, a fluent public speaker, excellent organiser and committed reformer and socialist. It was essential, she believed, to meet 'the real needs of the people' and to stop 'the waste of human life, of human abilities and capacities'.

When she left the goldfields in 1914 she donated her presentation purse of sovereigns to striking woodcutters.

In Perth she became chairperson of the Labor Women's Club, campaigning on issues including peace, disarmament, women's health, education, maternity allowances, pensions and child endowment. She was a committed anti-conscriptionist during World War I. She joined the State Executive of the Labor Party in the mid-1920s.

She was a special magistrate on the Children's Court and a foundation member of the Women Justices' Association. She was active in the establishment of the King Edward Memorial Hospital. For many years she was an official visitor to the women's section of Fremantle Prison. In the 1920s she was vice-president of the Workers' Educational Association. During the Depression, she served as treasurer to the West Perth Relief Committee.

It was a lifetime of Labor activism.

She died on 22 May 1942, aged 74.

  • Organized a Victorian relief committee for the Broken Hill strikers
  • Founding member of the first Labor Women's Organization in Australia
  • Vice-president of Women's Political and Social Crusade
  • Jean with her husband, Harry, and family move to Western Australia
  • Founding member of the first Western Australian Women's Political and Social Crusade (later the Women's Labor League) at Fremantle
  • Founding president of the Goldfields Women's Labor League
  • President of the first Labor Women's Conference
  • Honorary justice on the Children's Court Bench
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Secretary of the King Edward Memorial Hospital Advisory Board
  • Presided over the second Labor Women's conference
  • President of the Perth Women's Branch of the Australian Labor Party
  • President of the Women Justices' Association
  • Invited by the Labor Women's Organisation to stand for Labor pre-selection for the Senate (unsuccessful)

View the full record at Australian Women's Register

Related people and organisations

Australian Women's Register

Resources for Jean Beadle

Selected resources (14)

Australian Women's Register

  1. Beadle, Jean
    Published: National Foundation for Australian Women
    Series: IspartOf The Australian Women's Register
  2. Jean Beadle : A Life of Labor Activism
    Oliver, Bobbie
    [Crawley, W.A]
    Published: UWA Press
  3. Women's Labour: Women's Power? Women in the Western Australian labour movement from the early 1900s to the Depression
    Joyce, Robin R.
    [1999]
    Published: Australian National University
  4. Feminism in Labor Women's Organisations 1905 to 1917
    Joyce, Robin R.
    [1979]
    Published: University of Western Australia
  5. Feminism: an early tradition amongst Western Australian Labor Women
    Joyce, Robin R.
    [Marrickville]
    Published: Hale & Iremonger
    Series: IspartOf All Her Labours Working It OutWomen and Labour Publications Collective
  6. Labor Women: Political Housekeepers or Politicians?
    Joyce, Robin R.
    [Melbourne]
    Published: Longman Cheshire
    Series: IspartOf Australian Women and the Political SystemSimms, Marian
  7. 'A Truly great Australian woman' : Jean Beadle's work among Western Australian women and children, 1901-1942
    Oliver, Bobbie
    [Nedlands, WA]
    Published: University of Western Australia Press
    Series: IspartOf Women and citizenship suffrage centenaryCrawford, Patricia and Skene, Judy
  8. Beadle, Jane (1868-1942)
    Birman, Wendy and Wood, Evelyn
    [2006]
    Published: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University
    Series: IspartOf Australian Dictionary of Biography
  9. Reflections : profiles of 150 women who helped make Western Australia's history; Project of the Womens Committee for the 150th Anniversary Celebrations of Western Australia
    Popham, Daphne; Stokes, K.A.; Lewis, Julie
    [Perth, Melbourne [etc.]:]
    Published: Carrolls
  10. Uphill all the way: a documentary history of women in Australia
    Daniels, Kay and Murnane, Mary
    [St Lucia, QLD]
    Published: University of Queensland Press
  11. 'Potential inefficients at best, criminal at worst': The girl problem and juvenile delinquency in Western Australia 1907-1933.
    Kerr, R
    [1998]
    Published: Western Australian Institute for Educational Research
    Series: IspartOf Proceedings Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Forum 1998
  12. 'In the thick of every battle for the cause of Labor' : the voluntary work of the Labor women's organisations in Western Australia, 1900-1970
    Oliver, Bobbie
    [2001]
  13. Papers, 1899-1962 [manuscript]
    [0.32 m : 1899 - 1962]
    Series: State Library of Western Australia, J.S. Battye Library of West Australian History
    Correspondence, notes, newspaper cuttings, speeches, pamphlets, reports and scrapbooks relating to the Labor Women's Movement, including the Eastern Goldfields Women's Labor League (1906-1909) and the Labor Women's Central Executive of the W.A. Branch of the Australian Labor Party; also some personal papers and original poetry.
    MN 914; ACC 3114A; ACC 3114A/27
  14. Mrs Jean Beadle J.P. [picture]
    Series: SLWA online catalogue record
    Printed below photograph "Mrs Jean Beadle J.P. Founded and was first president Labour womens movement. Member first Advisory Board K.E.M.H. for women. Foundation member W.S.G. 1909"
    State Library of Western Australia

Resources by Jean Beadle (1)

  1. Edith Cowan and Cowan family correspondence
    Cowan, Edith Dircksey, 1861-1932
    [ Unpublished : 1872-1972 ]
    Possibly online
    At WA State Library
    Edith Cowan and Cowan family correspondence
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 39,193.742)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 39,193.742)

Resources about Jean Beadle (5)

  1. Mrs Jean Beadle J.P
    [ Photograph ]
    Possibly online
    At WA State Library
    Mrs Jean Beadle J.P
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 72,754)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 72,754)

  2. Edith Cowan and Cowan family correspondence
    Cowan, Edith Dircksey, 1861-1932
    [ Unpublished : 1872-1972 ]
    Possibly online
    At WA State Library
    Edith Cowan and Cowan family correspondence
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 39,163.738)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 39,163.738)

  3. Forgotten women in Australian history [Series of parts] Part 2: Political pathfinders and a strange sexual radical
    Daniels, Kay
    National Times
    [ Article : 9-15 ]
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 37,084.738)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 37,084.738)

  4. Jean Beadle : a life of labor activism / Bobbie Oliver
    Oliver, Bobbie, 1951-
    [ Book : 2007 ]
    At 25 libraries
    Jean Beadle : a life of labor activism / Bobbie Oliver
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 25,908.098)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 25,908.098)

  5. Montage of portraits of staff of the Children's Court, Perth W.A
    [ Photograph : 1929 ]
    Possibly online
    At WA State Library
    Montage of portraits of staff of the Children's Court,  Perth W.A
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 24,001.951)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 24,001.951)

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  1. Macdonald, Amelia Morrison (1865-1946)
    Social Reformer; women's activist; Women's Rights Activist; Tailoress; Church Worker
    ... Beadle, Jean (1867 - 1942) ... Chase, Muriel Jean Eliot (1880 - 1936) ...
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  2. Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia (1909-1997)
    ... Beadle, Jean (1867 - 1942) ...
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  1. MRS. JEAN BEADLE
    Westralian Worker (Perth, WA : 1900 - 1951) Friday 5 June 1931 p 6 Article Illustrated
    ... MRS. JEAN BEADLE Who has been closely associated with the Labor Movement from its inception, is the ... 58 words
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  2. WOMAN'S REALM. MRS. J. BEADLE DEAD. A Life of Service.
    The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) Tuesday 26 May 1942 p 5 Article Illustrated
    ... WOMAN'S REALM. MRS J. BEADLE DEAD. A Life of Service. The death of Mrs J. Beadle will leave a gap ... in the ranks of social workers in this State which will not easily be filled. The late Mrs Beadle ... 293 words
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  3. MRS. JEAN BEADLE.
    The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950) Wednesday 24 March 1915 p 2 Article
    ... MRS. JEAN BEADLE. I support the movement, though perhaps       I might be deemed a ... 163 words
    • Text last corrected on 29 August 2014 by anonymous
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  1. Jean Beadle: A Life Of Labor Activism
    Oliver, Bobbie
    [ Article : 2007 ]
    View online
    At Curtin Uni Inst Rep
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  2. Jean Beadle and the Western Australian Women's Movement, 1905/ 1942
    Grimes, Jane
    Papers in Labour History
    [ Article : 1992 ]
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  3. Jean Beadle: A life of Labor Activism.(Book review)
    Summy, Hilary
    The Australian Journal of Politics and History
    [ Article : 2008 ]
    View online (conditions apply)
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  4. Jean Beadle: A Life of Labor Activism by Bobbie Oliver
    Frank Bongiorno
    [ Article : 2008 ]
    View online
    At Rev Aus Studies
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  1. BEADLE PTY LTD TAKEOVER OF ACI INTERNATIONAL LIMITED DISSENTING SHAREHOLDERS UNCLAIMED PROPERTY
    Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Periodic (National : 1977 - 2011) Friday 5 January 1996 p 163

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    ... BEADLE PTY LTD TAKEOVER OF ACI INTERNATIONAL LIMITED DISSENTING SHAREHOLDERS UNCLAIMED PROPERTY ACI ... . Elizabeth M. Crutch C/- 9 Bilkurra Avenue BILGOLA PLATEAU NSW 2107 Mrs. Jean C. Cullen P.O. Box 423 KINGSTON ... 5621 words
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  2. AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY National Memorials Ordinance 1928 DETERMINATION
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    ... matron 1920-42 and matron from 1942 at Sydney Hospital, awarded Florence Nightingale Medal and Royal Red ... Munitions and Forces N Qld 1942-46, first prof of biochemistry, Institute of Advanced Studies 194867, dean ... 12629 words
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  3. Human Services and Health
    Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Public Service (National : 1977 - 2007) Thursday 11 May 1995 p 2672

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    ... ,18.4.95 N.N.—49393131 Professional Officer Class 1 $29108-37109 Fiona Jean Stewart: 730-60645, section 42, 2 ... .2.95 N.N.—49308853 Professional Officer Class 2 $37932-42391 Howard Edward Beadle; 712-88179, section 42, 24 ... 186 words
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  1. Students flora of North Eastern New South Wales / by N.C.W. Beadle ; illustrated by Lois D. Beadle
    Beadle, N. C. W. (Noel Charles William), 1914-
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  2. War speak : a collection of slang and other words used in the Royal Air Force during and after the 1939-45 war / remembered by Jean and Bernard Beadle ; with additions suggested by ex-RAF friends
    Beadle, Jean
    [ Book : 2007 ]
    War speak : a collection of slang and other words used in the Royal Air Force during and after the 1939-45 war / remembered by Jean and Bernard Beadle ; with additions suggested by ex-RAF friends
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  3. Indelible images : women of local television / edited by Mary E. Beadle, Michael D. Murray
    Murray, Michael D
    [ Book : 2001 ]
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  4. Mannau arbennig : eu harwyddocâd i gredinwyr / [testun gwreiddiol: Lesley Beadle ...[et al.] ; [darluniau gan Cath Mason] ; [addasiad Cymraeg gan Alwyn a Jean Pleming]
    Beadle, Lesley
    [ Book : 2003 ]
    Languages: Welsh
    Mannau arbennig : eu harwyddocâd i gredinwyr / [testun gwreiddiol: Lesley Beadle ...[et al.] ; [darluniau gan Cath Mason] ; [addasiad Cymraeg gan Alwyn a Jean Pleming]
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  1. Oliver Twist / Charles Dickens
    Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870
    [ Book, Audio book, Sound : 1800-2012 ]
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  2. Reflections : profiles of 150 women who helped make Western Australia's history / edited by Daphne Popham ; illustrated by Kerry Ann Stokes
    Popham, Daphne
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    [ Sound : 2008 ]
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  1. [Biographical cuttings on Jean Beadle, socialist and feminist, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]
    [ Published : 1900-1990 ]
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  2. Contemporary Art Society of Australia (N.S.W.) - correspondence, 1943-1968
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