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Daisy Olive McWilliams (c. 1898–1981)

by Vera Deacon

Daisy McWilliams, n.d.

Daisy McWilliams, n.d.

photograph provided by family

Daisy McWilliams, died recently in Sydney, aged 83. In recent years Daisy's health had been poor but she was cared for lovingly by her children Bob McWilliams and Fuschia Lewin.

Readers will recall Daisy McWilliams' story, Unemployed written in 1936 after years of struggle and the deprivations of life on the dole. Forty years later the story was published in Len Fox's book Depression Down Under. Daisy's story attracted widespread attention and has been described as a classic. The book is now recommended reading in University and Evening College study courses.

At a graveside ceremony, in the presence of family and friends who fittingly stood beneath a Sydney Black Wattle tree, Len Fox spoke movingly about Daisy.

Though a shy and frail woman she found the strength and will to stand up and speak out; to resist evictions; to care for her sick children; to work with her husband and others to resist the policies of those in power who sought to make the working people bear the burdens of the Depression. And again Daisy continued on during the war against fascism and in the postwar years to make life better for those who came after.

Her life's example was and is an inspiration to all who work for Socialism and a better, more rational society. Tribune extends sincere sympathy and understanding to her children and grandchildren and salutes a splendid woman.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • ASIO file, A6126, 533 (National Archives of Australia)

Citation details

Vera Deacon, 'McWilliams, Daisy Olive (c. 1898–1981)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Daisy McWilliams, n.d.

Daisy McWilliams, n.d.

photograph provided by family

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Patterson, Daisy Olive

c. 1898
Brunswick, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


1981 (aged ~ 83)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Political Activism