The Ahern Family - Lizzie Ahern

Lizzie Ahern Wallace
Australian Socialist

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Ahern was born 19 October 1877 at Sago Hill, Haddon, Victoria to Edmond Ahern of Waterford, Ireland and Eliza Kiely of Limerick, Ireland. She married Arthur Wallace and died 7 April 1969 in Melbourne, Australia.

Ahern [Wallace], Lizzie [Elizabeth] (1877 - 1969)
Australian socialist.
The daughter of an Irish gold-miner and radical, she was born at Ballaret, Victoria, left school at 14 and worked as a pupil-teacher and then as a cook in Melbourne, but her political commitment lost her job. In 1905 she joined the Social Questions Committee which became the Victorian Socialist Party. One of the most eloquent orators in Australian politics, she moved huge crowds and became a prominent member of the Free Speech Campaign in Prahra, Melbourne. She was imprisoned in 1906 for defending the right to speak in public places. A dedicated feminist, she also helped to found the Domestic Workers' Union. In 1905 she married a fellow radical, Arthur Wallace, and in 1909 founded the Women's Socialist League. They then moved to Adelaide but in May 1916 returned to Melbourne and led the anti-conscription campaign during World War I, although Lizzie's own son enlisted and died of illness caught as a soldier. Wallace became an MP in 1919, and in later life Lizzie continued to work for the Australian Labour party and became a Justice of the Peace and Children's Court Magistrate. She remained interested in politics to the end of her life.
The Macmillan Dictionary of Women's Biography, Jennifer S. Uglow 1999

   Red was the prevailing colour at the Prahran Police Court yesterday morning. Everyone wore scarlet neckties, scarves, ribbons, and carnations. The wearers addressed on another as "Comrade," and talked in declamatory phrases, about "the cause," "the British Boast of Free Speech," "Our Forefathers," and "Plutocratic Oppression." They were the "socialists" of Melbourne, who scorn to work for "tyrants," and so were able to brave the falling rain to cheer their leaders, who were to appear before the Court for having obstructed the carriage-way at Prahran on Saturday night. When those leaders arrived to surrender to their bail, they were loudly cheered, and when the court doors were opened the crowd surged inside, quickly filling the building. Over a hundred people failed to gain admission, and waited outside.
   Mr. Witt, J.P., occupied the chair, and on the bench with him were Major Chipperton, Captain Panter, and Messrs. R G. Kent, G. Young, and W. H. M. Hyslop, J.P.'s
   The cases for the prosecution were conducted by the Prahran solicitor (Mr. D. H. Herald). None of the accused was defended.
   The first case called was that of Elizabeth Ahern, 26 years of age, who described herself as a cook. She was charged with having obstructed the carriage-way in Chatham street, Prahran, and with having refused to desist when told to do so by a constable. She pleaded guilty of not having moved on when asked by the police, but not guilty of having obstructed the carriage-way.
   Mr. Herald explained that the city regulation, under which proceedings had been taken imposed a maximum penalty of one month's imprisonment. The matter had been going on for some time. These people were not residents of Prahran, but came from outside, and evidently wanted to pose as martyrs. He would therefore ask the Bench to impose the full penalty—a fine of £5 in default a month's, imprisonment.
   Sergeant Williams stated:— I saw defendant in the midst of a crowd of people in Chatham-street on Saturday night. She was standing on a stool, or chair, addressing the crowd. I asked her to desist, but she refused. She was obstructing the carriageway.
   Senior-constable O'Loughlin gave corroborative evidence.
   Defendant.—What I was advocating was dearer to me than anything. If other bodies are to give vent to statements of their views, then I claim the same right.
   Mr. Witt.—You are not here for expressing your opinions, but on a charge of obstructing. You are the first female charged with the offence.
   The magistrates, conferred on the case, and Mr. Witt was heard to say, "Oh, no; I would not make martyrs of them at all." He announced that a majority of the bench had decided to impose a fine of 30/, with 10/6 costs, in default 10 days imprisonment, adding, "You must have heard of the previous proceedings here, and known that you were committing an offence.
   Defendant.—I was quite willing to take the risks.
   Margaret Anderson, a married woman, was called. She declined to plead.
Melbourne Argus 30 October 1906

— from John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library

The little band of Socialists in Melbourne led by Tom Mann seem determined to maintain their notoriety. To this end (says the Sydney Telegraph) the campaign was carried on that resulted in several services in churches on successive Sundays being disturbed by the noisy band that used to troop in at Tom Mann's heels. The public had almost forgotten these "true blue" Socialists, but for a week or two recently they have been at loggerheads with the police at Prahran through holding meetings in busy thoroughfares on Saturday nights. There have been arrests and fines, and the cry has been raised that the Socialists are being persecuted by instructions from the Prahran councillors, while the Salvation Army and other organisations are permitted to hold meetings in the streets without fear of being "moved on."

"This fight is for free speech," Tom Mann has declared on every available public opportunity, and on Saturday night an attempt to address a crowd in one of the principal business streets of Prahran resulted in eight arrests. A crowd of 200 or 300 people blocked up the street, but, by the directions of Tom Mann, the footpaths were kept clear. This, he declared, would prevent a charge of obstructing the street. Miss Elizabeth Ahern, aged 26, mounted a stool and started the first address. She had not proceeded far when the police stepped in and arrested her. Immediately up jumped Mrs. Anderson, a lady who had earlier in the "campaign" announced her preparedness to leave her husband and children and go to gaol for "the cause." Her appearance on the rostrum changed hoots and yells, aroused by her predecessor's arrest, into wild exclamations of delight. "You must get down," she was told by a policeman. "I will when I am finished," was her reply, a response which was greeted with cheers. Then a burly policeman led her away to the watchhouse.

A man who followed was similarly dealt with, and then Tom Mann climbed on the stool and was hailed with cheers. He, too, was pulled down and escorted to the police station, accompanied by a crowd of about 2000 people, many of whom hooted and occasionally made ugly rushes. These led to four more arrests. Outside the police station a procession was formed and kept marching round the block, halting each time at the police headquarters to sing "The Red Flag." On promising not to obstruct again that night Tom Mann and his followers were released on their own bail, and at a subsequent meeting "on the green" all the late prisoners declared their intention not to pay any fines imposed. The two women particularly begged their friends not to pay their fines. Eventually, on Tom Mann's advice, the meeting quietly dispersed. One citizen who had offered the Socialists his verandah from which to speak was assaulted by a neighbor, a woman, for "bringing those Socialists about the place." in protest she struck a vigorous blow, which deprived the citizen of a front tooth.

Poverty Bay Herald 14 November 1906

— from John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library

"The socialistic martyrs," Mrs. Anderson and Miss Lizzie Ahern, who were imprisoned for ten days on refusal to pay a fine of 30s for street obstruction, gave a vivid account of their experiences to an appreciative audience of about 200 at the Port Melbourne Town Hall this week. The meeting whiled away the time till 8 o'clock by singing socialistic "hymns" until the lady speakers appeared. They were accompanied by Mrs. Tom Mann, who first related the circumstances of the trouble, and then introduced the speakers.

Miss Ahern depicted her gaol experience in joyous tones. The blankets were an "ugly-looking grey," and not too clean. The bread was "grey," the gaol was "grey," and exercise was taken in a "grey" yard, and there was a "grey, stodgy look" about everything. Miss Ahern was particularly severe on the soup, which, she said, it was impossible to classify as either beef or mutton, and she described the meat as rubber. The literature supplied was not at all to her taste, and on asking for other reading matter she was told that they didn't keep socialistic papers. Miss Ahern stated that the sanitary state of the gaol was disgraceful, and that Mr. Scott-Bennett, their comrade, was going to bring these matters before Parliament for redress.

Mr. W. J. Baxter, also gave his experiences; but as a kind friend paid his fine when he had only been in three days, they were not extensive. Before the meeting dispersed Mrs. Mann announced that another collection would be taken at the doors, as the one taken up previously amounted to "little more than the rent of the hall." It is evident, therefore, that the "moving" addresses were not effective to move the people's hands towards their pockets.

The Launceston Examiner 23 November 1906

Melbourne Socialists are not having a happy time just now. For holding a meeting in the streets several were fined, and went to prison rather than pay the fine. Miss Lizzie Ahern and Mrs. Anderson, two who each "took out" an alternative of 10 days in Melbourne Gaol, have been relating their experiences. Miss Ahern said the gaol bedding was "ugly-looking grey blankets, not too clean." Breakfast was served in an "ugly-looking vessel, not too clean," The bread was "grey and ugly-looking.'' The gaol itself was "grey," and exercise was taken in a "gray" yard, and there was a "grey, stodgy" look about everything. That, however, only embraced a few of the complaints. These unfortunate people have themselves to blame. As law-breakers they had a choice, and elected to go to prison, which was what it should be—a place to which they had no desire to return. It is only fair to state that these people, however sincere they may be, are extremists and do not represent the great body of Socialists.
Clarence and Richmond Examiner 24 November 1906

Miss Lizzie Ahern and Mrs. Anderson, two of the Prahran lady "Socialists," who each "took out" an alternative of 10 days in Melbourne Gaol rather than pay a fine of 30s imposed on them at Prahran Court on October 29, have been relating their experiences. Miss Ahern's gaol experience (the Argus says) was depicted in grey tones. The gaol bedding was "ugly-looking grey blankets, not too clean." Breakfast was served in an ugly looking vessel, not too clean. The bread was "grey and ugly-looking." The gaol itself was "grey," and exercise was taken in a "grey"' yard, and there was a "grey, stodgy look" about everything. "I tried to eat the hominy," declared the. speaker, "but after one tablespoon fill I didn't try a second one." Miss Ahern severely criticised the rest of the gaol menu, and was particularly severe on the soup. It was impossible to tell whether the meat supplied was beef or mutton, the speaker said, and nobody was able to cut it with the knife and fork supplied. "You could take the meat in your hands and pull it that length," said the speaker, with illustrative action ; "it is all sinews." The potatoes supplied had never seen water. The gaol literature supplied was spoken of as "trash, simply an insult to thinking men and women." Miss Ahern stated that her request for something more solid and intellectual was met with the reply that they didn't keep socialistic books there. Miss Ahern stated that the sanitary arrangements of the gaol were simply a disgrace to any human society. Mrs. Anderson also detailed her gaol treatment at length, and spoke strongly in condemnation of the food supplied to prisoners.
Poverty Bay Herald 28 November 1906

A well-attended meeting of socialists was held in the Brunswick Town Hall on Thursday evening, November 22nd, for the purpose of protesting against the imprisonment of the Prahran socialists. Mrs. Tom Mann presided, and there were also present Miss Ahern, Mrs. Anderson, and Mr. Frank Hyett, three socialists who had undergone imprisonment together with a number of leading socialists. Mrs. Tom Mann said that the object of the meeting was to express indignation at the way in which socialists had been treated in Prahran. As they knew, her husband, Mr. Tom Mann, was serving a term of imprisonment for speaking in Prahran streets. She was with him the second time. On the first occasion he was fined, but refused to pay, the fine. Somebody—one of their misguided ones—paid, the fine, and consequently Mr. Mann was set free, whether he liked it or not. He immediately inserted an advertisement and went down the street. He had not been on the box a minute before he was hauled down by the police and dragged to the station. Mr. Mann was now taking out his time at the Melbourne Gaol. With him were Mr. Bernard Oates and Mr. Alfred Russell Wallace—the latter a resident of Brunswick.

Last Monday two women were dragged off to goal—Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. Jarvis—and it was said they had been taken to Pentridge. Mr. J. Curtin moved that the meeting expresses its indignation at the treatment meted out to socialists by the Prahran police and City Council, and also that the Chief Secretary be asked to review the proceedings and take action thereon. Miss Lizzie Ahern seconded the motion, and gave her experiences in gaol. Mr. Frank Hyett followed with an account of the men's prison, after which Mrs. Anderson gave her experiences, remarking that there was one socialistic feature she noticed is gaol—there was no distinction in dress there. Mr. Anstey, M.L.A., also spoke and expressed sympathy with Mr. Tom Mann. The motion was carried unanimously.

A collection was taken up in aid of the defence fund, and at the close of the meeting two verses of the "Marseillaise" were sung. Mrs. Mann announced that post-cards illustrative of prison life were on sale in the hall, two of which showed Mr. Mann in prison garb.

The Coburg Leader 1 December 1906

— from Curtin University Library

The two lady Socialists, Mrs. Anderson and Miss Ahearn, who were imprisoned for having harangued the crowd in the streets of Prahran, arrived on Saturday, and were given an official reception by the mayor in the Town Hall. They delivered addresses on Socialism at the Trades Hall this evening.
The South Australian Advertiser 10 December 1906

As you have vilified the Womanhood of the Socialist movement and previously declined to debate your anti-Socialist position, you are hereby challenged to Debate on
MISS LIZZIE AHERN (of Melbourne),
now in Broken Hill. If you are game, notify the Secretary of the Social Democratic Club.
Barrier Miner 10 December 1906

— from John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library

Miss Lizzie Ahern, of the Socialist party of Victoria, arrived in Broken Hill per the express this morning. She comes as the guest of the Barrier Socialist Group, and will commence a campaign of a fortnight's duration at the Hippodrome next Sunday. Leaving Melbourne, last Thursday, Miss Ahern reports having addressed good meetings in Adelaide on Sunday last. She considers that a strong Socialist party is now in the making in South Australia. Miss Ahern is not unknown in Broken Hill, having addressed some memorable meetings here in connection with the last Federal elections.
Barrier Miner 27 October 1908

BROKEN HILL, October 27.
Miss Lizzie Ahearn, Socialist propagandist, arrived to-day. She will be the guest of the Barrier Socialist Group.
The South Australian Advertiser 28 October 1908

After seeing Mr. Tom Mann away last night, the members of the Barrier Socialist Group assembled in their clubroom in Argent-street to formerly welcome Miss Lizzie Ahern to Broken Hill. The gathering, which was comparatively large, enthusiastically rendered several Socialist songs. Messrs. R. S. Ross, A. K. Wallace, K. G. Druhmel, C. Feldhusen, and others spoke of the Group's appreciation of its visitor, and assured Miss Ahern of a notable success as regards her propaganda campaign. In the course of her reply, Miss Ahern commented upon the growing influence exerted by revolutionary socialism, and spoke highly of the esteem in which she had found the comrades of Broken Hill everywhere regarded.

Miss Ahern was present at the women's meeting in the Trades Hall yesterday afternoon. She will begin her public addresses on Sunday evening.

Barrier Miner 29 October 1908

Of the woman speakers Australia has produced, Miss Ahern stands in the front rank. She has a strong and resonant voice coupled with an earnestly impressive delivery, and pleasantly human manner. She first came into prominence as a member of the old social democratic party of Melbourne, in which organisation she became firmly grounded in those principles she has since so ably expounded. At a later stage she entered the Labor league and worked persistently for the avowal of socialism by the Labor party. When Mr. Tom Mann and others moved in the direction of forming the Socialist Party of Victoria, Miss Ahern enthusiastically favored and forwarded the project, and to-day is glad to be the possessor of the first card of membership issued. She has ever since been prominently identified with the party, and has contributed no small share towards its growth, and exceptional success.

As one of the chief speakers, she has been of splendid service, but in humdrum task work she has not been wanting. Indeed, Miss Ahern's special usefulness has consisted in the detail and organising work she has performed. During what is known as the "Prahran fight," for the right of holding street meetings, the subject of this brief sketch was to the fore. She threw herself energetically into the fray, and with other comrades experienced as a result a fortnight's imprisonment in the Melbourne gaol. Shortly afterwards Miss Ahern visited Broken Hill, and with Mrs. Anderson conducted memorable meetings. Since then the Barrier Socialist Group has broken away from the official Labor party, as has done the socialist party of Victoria and others. Miss Ahern is in Broken Hill at the group's invitation, for the purpose of participating in a propaganda campaign of several weeks' duration. By common consent, she is credited with being one of the most sincere and stirring speakers Broken Hill has heard. Miss Ahern is a native of Ballarat, but her work in the main has been in connection with the socialist movement of Melbourne.

Barrier Miner 31 October 1908

"The War Of The Classes And Its Settlement."
The Hippodrome was crowded pretty nearly to its full capacity last night, when Miss Lizzie Ahern, who is on a visit to Broken Hill at the invitation of the Barrier Socialist Group, delivered an address on ''The War of the Classes and Its Settlement." Mr. R. S. Ross presided, and in compliment to the principal speaker of the evening some Socialist songs, including "The Red Flag," were rendered, the children of the Socialist Sunday-school leading the singing. Mr. Ross, in introducing Miss Ahern to the audience, said that next Sunday would be his last in Broken Hill for some time, and he would then speak at the Hippodrome on "The Mission of Broken Hill."' Miss Ahern would also speak on that occasion. He was sure Miss Ahern needed no better welcome to Broken Hill than the splendid gathering there that night. Miss Ahern had been here before, and had stimulated, inspired, and encouraged them because there was no more solid and inspiring teacher in the Labor movement than she was. She was a credit not only to womanhood, but to the Socialist movement.

Miss Ahern, before commencing to deal with the subject of her address, spoke of her appreciation, and that of Socialists generally of the good work performed by the Barrier Socialist Croup. That work was bearing fruit not only in Broken Hill, but throughout the whole of Australia. Their mission was to stir up the great working class to organisation and unity in the great fights that were proceeding to-day. The Barrier Socialist Group was doing great work for the true working class movement in Australia. She also greatly appreciated the work that was being done here in the Socialist Sunday-school. A clergyman in England had said that if he was given the children during the first 10 years of their lives he could mould their opinions, and the other people could have them after that. So the children in the Socialist Sunday-School were being baptised in the Socialist faith. . . . 

Barrier Miner 2 November 1908

Broken Hill
Miss Ahern has been appointed teacher of the young men's class or economic circle, at the Socialist Sunday-school, held in the Trades Hall.
The South Australian Advertiser 11 November 1908

A large crowd attended the Hippodrome last night, where Miss Lizzie Ahern, the woman organiser of the Barrier Socialist Group, was billed to give an address on "The Revolt of Woman." Prior to Miss Ahern taking the platform, the children of the Socialist Sunday School rendered Socialist hymns; Mr. Arthur Morley and Miss Ethel Laslio sang; and Mr. Franklyn Barrett was responsible for keeping the audience in good humor with two highly-amusing animated pictures. Mr. A. K. Wallace (chairman) briefly introduced the lecturess. Miss Ahern, who was well received, stated that her subject for that evening, ''The Revolt of Woman," was chosen partly on account of a subleader which appeared in " The Miner" of October 28, dealing with utterances made by Tom Mann, who said, "If the women had any spirit of revolt in them they would soon begin to show it." . . . 
Barrier Miner 16 November 1908

Broken Hill, November 16.   
Miss Lizzie Ahern, the woman organiser for the Barrier Socialist group, in an address on "The revolt of women" last night, said she believed the wives of the working class had a right to say when they should take upon themselves the responsibility of motherhood. Until women recognised their position in life they would continue to be degraded, and they must take up a position with the men of the working class and assist in the overthrow of a system which had held them down in subjection and degradation.
The South Australian Advertiser 17 November 1908

At the Hippodrome last night, an address was delivered by Mr. A. K. Wallace in reply, to what was stated in the advertisement of the meeting as "Truth's contemptible attack" on the Barrier Socialist Group and the Socialists generally. Miss Lizzie Ahern presided, and announced that next Sunday she would speak on "The Morality of Capitalism,'' the address being partly a reply to Mr. T. Ivey and his religious friends who hold the opinion that if it were not for them Broken Hill would be doomed. Mr. Wallace's intention was to defend the Barrier Socialist Group from the contemptible attack made upon it, and its position in a large article in "Truth" last Wednesday. . . . 
Barrier Miner 23 November 1908

Mr. Arthur K. Wallace, a prominent member of the Barrier Socialist group, and Miss Lizzie Ahern, the well-known Socialist lecturer, are to be married on Thursday next. It is understood that the ceremony will take place at the registrar's office in Broken Hill.
The South Australian Advertiser 7 December 1908

Mr. & Mrs. A. K. WALLACE.
These two well-known workingclass advocates were the subjects of a Socialist wedding at Broken Hill on Dec. 10, 1908, Tom Mann and Harry E. Gray actiong as witnesses. The district parsons, fearing loss of revenue should this practice become general, deputed the Rev. C. E. Schafer to approach the couple and offer to hitch them up free of charge in orthodox style, but was met with a curt refusal. At the tiome Lizzie Ahern (now Mrs. Wallace) was prominent in Barrier Labor circles, the great 1909 lock-out being on the tapis. This is the only occasion on which a marriage has taken place in Broken Hill in true Socialist style.
— from "The Industrial History of Broken Hill" (1918) by G. Dale

Mr. Arthur Wallace and Miss Lizzie Ahern, the two well-known members of the Socialist party, were married this morning. The ceremony, which was devoid of any religious character, was performed at the Court-house, Major Crane, P.M. and Registrar of' marriages being the officiating officer. The bride, who was simply and neatly attired in white, and the bridegroom were accompanied by Mr. Tom Mann and Mr. E. H. Gray, who acted the important and legally-essential offices of witnesses.

The ceremony occupied about a quarter of an hour. The bride was described as "Elizabeth Ahern, of Broken Hill, Social agitator and spinster," and stated that she was born at Ballarat 28 years ago, and was the daughter of Edmund Ahern, a miner by occupation. The bridegroom was described as: "Arthur Knight Wallace, of Broken Hill, secretary and bachelor," and gave his age as 28 years, having been born at Yacka South Australia, and the son of Mr. Andrew Wallace, a well-known storekeeper of that town.

The couple first made a solemn declaration that they were both desirous of being married and both had conscientious objections to being married by a minister of religion. This declaration having been duly signed by both, they subscribed a further declaration that so far, as they knew there was no impediment either by kindred, relationship, previous marriage, etc., to their union. Then came the declaring and signing of the fatal bond which was in the form "I, Arthur Knight Wallace, do hereby declare in the presence of Frederick William Charlesworth Crane, Police Magistrate of the State of New South Wales and Registrar of Marriages far the district of Broken Hill, that I take Elizabeth Ahern to be my lawful wife." The bride made a similar declaration with the transposition of the names and the substitution of "husband" for "wife."

The next stage was the signing of the certificate, which in accordance with the custom, the lady signed first. Then Mr. Wallace signed and Mr. Tom Mann and Mr. Gray duly appended their signatures to the fateful document, which was signed in duplicate, one copy being handed by Major Crane to Mrs. Arthur Wallace, and the other copy will be forwarded to the Registrar-General in Sydney. The bride received the hearty congratulations of the officiating registrar and the two witnesses. But before this Mr. Mann remarked during a late stage of the ceremony, "It's all over now ; you're done for life." "I hope so," simply replied the bride. Mr. Mann also exercised the right of a fatherly witness by giving the bride the first kiss after the ceremony, but he took a rather sharp advantage, for he committed this courteous and congratulatory act while Mr. Wallace was still engaged in placing his signature to the certificate.

The signatures of the contracting parties were both appended in firm handwriting, and the couple, having fulfilled the obligations of the law and paid the accompanying fee of £1, withdrew as man and wife, accompanied by Mr. Mann and Mr. Gray, who, doubtless, had the marriage been performed in a church, would have played the parts of paternal giver-away of the bride and best man respectively.

Barrier Miner 10 December 1908

BROKEN HILL, Thursday.   
Mr. Arthur Wallace and Miss Lizzie Ahern prominent socialists, were married at the Registrar's to-day. Mr. Tom Mann and Mr. E. H. Gray were witnesses. The bride described herself as Elizabeth Ahern, social agitator and spinster, born in Victoria, and the groom described himself as Arthur Knight Wallace, secretary and bachelor. The age of each was given as 28 years.
The Sydney Morning Herald 11 December 1908

Mr. Arthur Wallace and Miss Lizzie Ahern, prominent Socialists, were married at the Registrar's at Broken Hill on the 13th inst. Mr. Tom Mann and Mr. E. H. Gay were witnesses. The bride described herself as Elizabeth Ahern, spinster and Socialist agitator, born in Victoria, and the groom described himself as Arthur Knight Wallace, secretary and bachelor. The age of each was given as 28.
The Wanganui Herald 29 December 1908

Two revolutionary Socialists were married at Broken Hill last week— Miss Lizzie Ahern and Mr. Arthur Wallace. The office joker says that Broken Hill is a great place for unionism, all right. Even Socialists are united there!
The Worker 2 January 1909

The marriage of two well-known Socialists, Arthur Wallace and Elizabeth Ahern, recently took place at Broken Hill. Tom Mann was one of the witnesses. The bridegroom described himself as a secretary and a bachelor, the bride as an "agitator" and a spinster. The marriage has occasioned quite a stir in the Socialistic world.
New Zealand Truth 9 January 1909
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Mrs. A. K. Wallace, who is at present raising her voice in our midst in support of the anti-Prohibition cause, is one of the most forceful women speakers in Australia. Her platform work dates back nearly twenty years. She first made her debut as a pupil of Tom Mann, who, at the time, was organising secretary of that surprisingly virile body, the Victorian Socialist Party. Tom Mann gathered around him an unique galaxy of youthful speaking talent, both young men and young women, scores of whom have subsequently made their names famous in the Labour Movement — and some of them, sad to say, have "ratted." Amongst the latter, Senator E. J. Russell is numbered, while of those that rang true the most notable name in the political world is probably that of Jack Gunn, leader of the S.A. Labour Party, and a sure thing Labour Premier ere many years have flown. Jack Cain and A. K. Wallace (husband of the lady I started to talk about, but rudely deserted), Labour members in the Victorian Parliament, are others. Then, in the Trade Union world, there are Dave Freedman, secretary of the Shop Assistants here, and Jo Swebleses, fighting Clerks' Union secretary of the war years, and a score of others well known in the East, including Fred Katz (victim of one of Hughes' brutal mob-rule stunts), whose wife is accompanying Mrs. Wallace on her present tour in W.A. Mrs. Katz rs also a capable speaker.

The writer has vivid memories of Mrs. Wallace — then Miss Lizzie Ahern — dominating many, a glorious rhetorical victory in the early years of the Victorian Socialist Party — years pregnant with promise of great things, were somewhat blighted later on when an attitude of dogmatic intolerance toward less progressive sections of the Labour Movement temporarily prevailed. That spirit passed away, but the damage it did lasted, and although the organisation has flourished proudly in recent years— it was the cradle of the anti-conscription cause in 1916 — it somehow seems to have missed its destiny by a fatal fraction.

The Sunday Mirror 1 May 1921

Mr. A. K. Wallace, Labor member for Albert Park (Victoria), who was recently appointed by the Victorian Cabinet to the Geelong Harbor Trust Commission, has declared his wholehearted support for the Premiers' Plan. Mr. Wallace and his wife, formerly Miss Lizzie Ahern, were prominent in Broken Hill industrial circles, particularly in 1909. They were subjects of a Socialist wedding at Broken Hill on December 10, 1908, Mr. Tom Mann being one of the witnesses.
Barrier Miner 29 April 1932

Elizabeth (Ahern) Wallace
WALLACE.—On the 7th April, Elizabeth Wallace, of 68 Barrett St., Albert Park, dearly beloved wife of the late Arthur Knight Wallace, and devoted mother of Jean (Mrs. Quinn) and Edmond (dec.) and loved grandmother of Denis and Michael.
Requiescat in pace.
WALLACE.—Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of Mrs. ELIZABETH WALLACE will be offered at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Richardson Street, Middle Park THIS DAY (WEDNESDAY), at 2.30 p.m. The Funeral will leave the church at the conclusion of the Mass for the Brighton Cemetery.
R. McKENZIE, 69 3107
The Age 9 April 1969

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