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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

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Elizabeth Tabitha (Betty) Holdsworth (1904–1980)

Betty Holdsworth died last month at the age of 78 and was cremated at Eastern Suburbs Crematorium on May Day — May 1, 1980.

Born in Durham, England, as a young girl she experienced the aftermath of the First World War, and appalled at the dole queues and poverty of the post-war period, joined the Communist Party of Great Britain. She was active in the CPGB until she came to Australia in the late '20s. She then joined the Communist Party of Australia, remaining active all her life.

She was a member of the Hotel, Club and Restaurant Employees Union, later the Liquor Trades Union, all her working life. She was an active job delegate and champion of women's rights, both in the trade unions and in everyday life.

She was particularly well-known as a seller of leftwing literature, and was a permanent feature of the old Sydney Domain meetings. She was also a literature seller in the area where she lived — Kings Cross — later being affectionately known as "Red Betty".

She was a foundation member of the Sydney Trade Union Club and always maintained her interest in it.

She will be missed in all the areas she moved in. She was in every demo she could get to — the Vietnam Moratorium, the Green Bans, particularly Victoria Street which was a burning issue with her. Along with Mick Fowler, she was active in this area until her death.

Like a lot of her contemporaries now gone, Betty will be missed by her comrades and the working class.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Holdsworth, Elizabeth Tabitha (Betty) (1904–1980)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Davies, Elizabeth Tabitha

Durham, England


19 April, 1980 (aged ~ 76)
Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

subdural hematoma

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Key Organisations
Political Activism