Edith Joyce Morgan OAM

Many of the issues that Edith Morgan pursued over 85 years are still at the centre of how to create a fairer and more equitable society.

Honour Roll

Edith Morgan was born in 1919. Having left school at the age of 13, Edith returned to study in her thirties and completed her matriculation.

As Collingwood's first social worker in 1972, she led the development of community services provided on the basis of rights not charity. It reflected her view that "if you give a service for 'poor' people, you'll give a poor service. You've got to be saying - "This service will be for all people, including the poor." Edith trail blazed a number of services that improved the lives of women and the families of inner city Melbourne. The development of the Collingwood Children's Farm, a childcare centre, a local foster care program, a community health centre, rental housing associations and emergency accommodation services are some of her achievements.

She continued her community work in retirement, serving on the Victorian Guardianship and Administration Board and the Victorian Consumer Forum on the Aged Ministerial Advisory Committee. Edith was also a long time member of the Union of Australian Women, co-founded the Older Person's Action Centre and was President of the Australian Pensioners and Superannuants Association.

Edith was awarded the medal of the Order of Australia in 1989 for services to the community. Her contribution to older people was recognised through the creation of the Edith Morgan Chair in Aged Care at the Australian Catholic University in 2004. Edith was a passionate, vociferous and effective activist who always believed that social and political actions were essential ingredients in producing change right up until her death in February 2004.

At the age of 79, she stood in front of a train at the Melbourne Docks during the height of the MUA-Patrick's dispute. She always stressed the need for women to speak out about the issues that affected them. In the diverse activities she undertook, Edith had a very clear view about how to direct her efforts. "I have a strong belief that unless you look politically at what you are doing, and understand the power structures; you are not going to get anywhere," she said.