Australian pro peace feminist Irene Greenwood’s biography


Irene Greenwood

From the West Australian:

Strong, invincible . . . she was IRENE

30th July 2006

The legacy of WA pioneer feminist, broadcaster, pacifist and social activist Irene Greenwood has been captured in an impressive account of a little Aussie battler whose clout belied her size, reports Pam Casellas

Those of us who knew Irene Greenwood in the last decades of her long life remember her as a small and determined figure, often wearing her trademark hat and gloves, whose very volubility made her a woman to be reckoned with.

She could blind a callow reporter with her wealth of knowledge about just about anything — international law and politics, the peace movement, social justice, the place of women in the world.

We never doubted her passion, though we did doubt our own ability to capture it in faltering shorthand made even less reliable by the sheer force of her personality.

We always knew there was much more to Irene Greenwood than her relentless contributions to the letters page of this newspaper and her frequent phone calls to the chief-of-staff when there was a matter she felt needed to be raised.

Her friend and former member of State Parliament Diana Warnock described her as “an elder of the tribe of women liberationists . . . a relentless campaigner against the forces of darkness”.

What we didn’t know how was how much more there was to this lifelong feminist and fighter for justice — this pint-sized pacifist, this pioneer in women’s broadcast journalism, who knew more about life than we’d ever dreamt and whose determination to improve the world never faltered.

Happily, this wrong has been righted with the publication of Voice for Peace: The Spirit of a Social Activist.

The work of Kaye Murray, the book has emerged after a sevenyear labour — a revision of Dr Murray’s doctoral thesis.

And though Dr Murray did not meet Ms Greenwood before her death in 1992, her work in investigating the depth of her commitment is impressive.

Australian feminist pacifist Margaret Holmes: here.

Australian activist Bette Boyanton: here.

Australian Left author Frank Hardy: here.

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