Commemorating cont.

She continued to work tirelessly for women by fighting conservative forces during the Depression, organising meetings and lecturing. Child endowment, introduced by Lang in 1927 was welcomed by women in the party whilst opposed by the men, who failed to comprehend its practical benefit given that women did not benefit from the family wage. (The failure to understand the immediate pragmatic urgency for a family wage for women as well as for men was one difficulty she had later with Muriel Heagney, in the latter's single-minded fight for equal pay).

Her concerns were for women, class, and a multifaceted and socially just society. For many her achievements culminated the founding of the Women's Electoral Lobby in 1971, in the Equal Pay decisions of 1969 and 1972, and in the 1974 National Wage Case in which she was WEL advocate in the Arbitration Commission hearings.

Edna 's commitment to labour history was made clear in her letters and her books which explored and analysed historical issues crucial to women's industrial identity. She was working and writing to the end - the quest was to find time for the writing she still needed to do, aside from the time she so generously gave to campaigners, to researchers, and to her friends. In the 1930s Bertha McNamara was eulogised as 'the mother of the labour movement'.

Edna Ryan similarly was a pivotal friend and mentor to the labour movement and more, a force for feminists and working women. The spontaneous procession of informal tributes since her death have been to a woman who never stopped working, a person of strength and courage, an extraordinary friend and mentor to so many people who themselves have become critical to Australian society, and a woman possessed of a no-nonsense quirky sense of humour. The women's movement, the labour movement and the country at large are the richer for her generous legacy of activism, mentoring and example.