• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE1913

McNish, Mary Elizabeth

(1926 – 2013)
  • Nationality Australian
  • Born 1 January, 1926
  • Died 10 August, 2013
  • Occupation Activist, Political candidate, Teacher


A well known figure in Sydney political and socially active organizations and a staunch defender of civil liberties. Mary McNish stood for the Australia Party in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly elections for Willoughby in 1971 and 1973.


At the time of her first candidacy Mary McNish was the NSW and National Secretary of the Australia Party, which she had helped to found. Prior to 1971, she was organising secretary of the JOBS project conducted by the Adult Education Department of the University of Sydney, which was responsible for pre-vocational training and final placement of 40 young Aborigines.

Mary McNish was an active campaigner for the establishment of a library in Willoughby, the last municipality in the state without one. She was also an active member of the Council for Civil Liberties, and in subsequent years held all executive positions on it. She campaigned against the Queensland legislation prohibiting street marches in 1979, and in company with George Petersen, M.L.A., Senator George Georges, and 63 others, was arrested for her action.

Mary McNish was born and educated in Queensland. She married (1) John Olsen, with whom she had a daughter, and (2) Alex McNish.


Published resources

Related entries

  • Featured in
    • Putting Skirts on the Sacred Benches: Women Candidates for the New South Wales Parliament
  • Related Concepts
    • Women in Politics: Minor Parties