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Teacher for Justice


This story, about a woman who took major public positions yet was reserved and even elusive about her personal life, posed many challenges. So there are many people to thank who have been generous with their time, their encouragement and their suggestions. We particularly want to thank our interviewees: Audrey McDonald, Jean Lewis, Beverley Bates, Kit Edwards, Ruth Fink Latukefu, Judith Emmett, Cathy Bloch, Clare Anderson, Lilon Bandler, Bob Makinson, Bruce McFarlane and Wendy and Allan Scarfe (who passed away last year and is missed by us all).

The Erskineville Public School community, from its principal and teachers to the parents of its students – and particularly Sean Macken and Angel Nunley – have all been enthusiastic participants in the exciting search for Lucy’s work. We have been greatly assisted by analysts who have offered insights, critical readings and valuable resources: Phillip Deery, Meredith Burgmann, James Beattie, Lisa Milner, Martin Sullivan and Julia Horne. One of the least well-known areas of Lucy’s tireless work was in support of refugees fleeing Nazism in Europe. We turned to community members like Ron Witton and to Nola Symonds and Phillip Moses of the Australian Jewish Historical Society to learn about her work in this area. We were fortunate to have great research done beyond what we could do ourselves by Jayne Reagan in Canberra in the National Library of Australia and the Noel Butlin Archives.

Lucy Woodcock was a committed unionist and, although much of her work, such as her contribution to the women’s movement, the Peace movement and working-class and progressive education, was outside the unions, she remained anchored in her commitment to cooperative industrial organisation through unions. She aimed to strengthen all these movements by building alliances between them. Neale Towart, from Unions Australia (previously the NSW Trades and Labor Council), has been most helpful. We are deeply grateful for the support and assistance of the NSW Teachers Federation,1 and, in particular, its president, Maurie Mulheron, along with Kerri Carr, Graeme Smart, Mary Schmidt and the Anna Stewart Fellow working on Lucy’s contribution, Sharron Talbot.

Finally, the book would not have come to fruition without the work and patience of Geoff Hunt and Venetia Somerset and ANU Press’ Christine Huber and Emily Hazlewood.

Our families have encouraged us, put up with us and generally humoured each of us and we are all grateful. So this is a collective call out to them all!

1 The NSW Teachers Federation has formally moved that there are to be no full stops or apostrophes used in the name of the Union.

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