Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

Skip to content

By Repository

Elba Cruz-Zavalla interviewed by Ann-Mari Jordens [sound recording]

Item Title
Elba Cruz-Zavalla interviewed by Ann-Mari Jordens [sound recording]
National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore Collection
Date Range
20 July 2005
Cruz, Elba (1945 - )

4 sound files (ca. 234 min.)

Elba Cruz-Zavalla, born in 1945 in Chepika, Chile, talks about her early life and her family background; her father's strong sense of social justice, socialist and communist values; her dyslexia; leaving school early to help her mother in the home; at 18 going to Santiago where she worked in a men's clothing factory; participating in union activities; in 1969 marrying Valenzuela Ramirez, a carpenter; how she and her husband worked to promote community development centres in suburbs and country towns under the Allende government; her two brothers who became Allende's unofficial bodyguards; the assassination of Allende at the Presidential Palace in November 1973; one brother being executed after the coup; her other brother being imprisoned and released after four months; her husband being granted refuge in Argentina; following him with her three small children in November 1974.
Cruz-Zavalla speaks about living in Argentina for three years under UN protection; having another child ; the family being accepted as refugees by Australia in 1977; settling initially in Adelaide, then coming to Canberra; her husband working as a carpenter; studying English; working as cook, a cleaner in a hotel and hospital and as a casual worker at the Health Services Supply Services laundry at Mitchell; initiating a successful three -week strike over employment conditions at the laundry in 1987, and subsequently became the union representative there; after six years developing RSI and being forced to seek less demanding work; in 1991 joining the staff of the Beryl Women's Refuge; assisting Chilean refugees settle in Canberra; her involvement in a number of community organizations such as the Chilean Solidarity Committee, a support organization for Argentinean refugees; the Chilean broadcasting program on 2XX and Association of Non-English-Speaking Background Women of Australia (ANESBWA).

Access open for research, personal copies and public use.
Finding Aid

Timed summary (5 p.) and Uncorrected transcript (typescript, 93 leaves)

Repository reference links are external links to the relevant catalogue record in the holding repository. If you experience a broken link it will be because the repository has not understood the value of maintaining persistent links and/or the judicious use of redirects. Try locating the repository's catalogue search and search on the records' creator's name and/or the repository reference number for the records.

Related entries



Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

© Copyright in The Australian Women's Register is owned by the Australian Women's Archives Project
and vested in each of the authors in respect of their contributions from 2000

The Australian Women's Register is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

The Australian Women's Register is published quarterly by the Australian Women's Archives Project
ISSN 2207-3124