Woman Burrow, Kathleen Mary (Kate)

Catholic lay leader and Teacher

Written by Shurlee Swain, Australian Catholic University

Kate Burrow was born 1899 in Mudgee, NSW, to mining engineer Elijah Graham and his wife Catherine. After completing her secondary education at the local convent boarding school she proceeded to the University of Sydney where she completed a BA in 1922. She was a founding member of the University Catholic Women's Association and a member of the Newman Association of Catholic Graduates. In 1925 she married librarian Kenney Burrow with whom she had three children.

In 1926 she joined her sister to found a school of physical culture which went on to become a profitable business providing exercise, deportment and dancing classes to Catholic schools across Australia. She continued her education, obtaining a massage certificate, a diploma of social studies and earning registration as a physiotherapist. However, it was in public life that her leadership potential blossomed. Chosen by the Archbishop to lead the new Legion of Catholic Women in 1949, she assumed the leadership of the Australian Council of Catholic Women in 1957, and in that capacity was the national representative on the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations from 1957 to 1965.

Burrow, who had been widowed in 1954, died in 1987.

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