Australian Biography: Freda Brown


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1996, 26 Minutes

Freda Brown was a political activist and women’s leader.

Born into a poor, working-class family in inner city Sydney in 1919, by the age of 17 Freda Brown had survived the Depression, joined the Communist Party, and become an important figure in the New Theatre. She travelled around Australia raising money for War Bonds, before meeting and marrying Bill Brown, later the editor of the Communist newspaper Tribune.

After the war, Freda joined the New Housewives Association, becoming president of what would ultimately develop into the Union of Australian Women. In this capacity, she campaigned on peace, equal pay, opposition to conscription, children’s and indigenous rights, and international women’s solidarity.

Freda lobbied the United Nations to declare 1975 as International Women’s Year. Her part in this project led to her election as Vice-President, then President of the Women’s International Democratic Federation, a group which represented 123 countries at UN conferences around the world. She visited many trouble spots during her career, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Algeria and Palestine, and was still an active lobbyist in the area of human rights up until her death in 2009.

A Film Australia National Interest Program. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

NB The Australian Biography series (1-11) are only available for sale within the territories of Australia and New Zealand.


Writer/Director/Producer: Frank Haines

Year: 1996

Running Time: 26 Minutes

Classification: G

Curriculum Links: Curriculum links include Australian History, in particular the women's movement; International Relations; SOSE/HSIE; Politics; English. NSW History Stage 5, Topic 6 'Changing Rights and Freedoms' Section C: Women - Change over Time.


SKU 199400902
Brand Film Australia

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