It is with sadness that we inform the Meriden community of the passing of Mrs Judith O’Connor (née Lipman). In addition to being Meriden’s oldest Old Girl, Judith was a mother of two Meriden alumnae, a grandmother, a great grandmother and an entrepreneur; she passed away earlier this month at the age of 101.
Judith was a trailblazer. In 1937, she filed the first ever sexual harassment case in Australian legal history after being kissed against her will by her employer. In doing so, she showed extraordinary courage at a time when women faced significant social and employment barriers.
Judith went on to work as a receptionist for a well-known Sydney photographer and then in Mark Foy’s, a large Sydney department store. At this time, she saw a gap in the market for wedding planning services and set up her own business organising invitations, hire cars, bouquets and other event requirements for brides.
Judith had a tireless work ethic. During World War II, she worked two day jobs while also supporting Australia’s war effort. From midnight to dawn, she worked at the “All Services Canteen” at Central Station, serving pies, tea and coffee to service personnel.
Judith left the workforce to raise her daughters, Victoria and Rochelle, but returned to work in 1962, selling books to schools and public libraries, which she did until she retired at eight-five years of age.
Meriden is proud to call Judith an Old Girl. The School sends condolences to her family at this time.