Collection UQFL191 - Constance Healy Papers

Identity area

Reference code



Constance Healy Papers


  • [193-?]-2010. (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

14 boxes, 1 parcel

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Constance (Connie) Lovegrove was born in Sydney on 30 May 1923, third daughter to Eric and Kate Lovegrove. Together with her sisters, Connie grew up in Brisbane, attending the Graceville State School and then, on full scholarship, attended the Brisbane Girls' Grammar School. She finished grade 12 at the age of 15. Connie and her older sisters, Florence and Pat (Patricia), were all involved with the Workers' Education Society classes and the Unity and New Theatre (which opposed capitalist injustice and fascism). Connie first husband, Reginald Kenneth Watson, died in World War Two. She married Michael Healy, a Queensland Union leader, on 5 October 1945.

On 22 January 1942 Constance de Mestre Lovegrove married Reginald Kenneth Watson, a navigator on bombing raids in the Second World War. He died while flying over Belgium, leaving Connie a widow at the age of 19.

In 1945 she married prominent Queensland union leader, Mick Healy, who was General Secretary of the Queensland Trades and Labour Council. They had two sons, Jim and John.

Her interest in theatre and her involvement in political activity continued throughout the postwar decades. During the 1940s, she was involved with the Communist Party of Australia, the Eureka Youth League (which operated from South Brisbane), and the Queensland Peace Council. She worked for trade unions and later in legal offices as a conveyancing clerk. She later went on to study politics, law, history and language at university while working fulltime. Connie received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland in 1978. She was particularly active in the struggle for justice for Aboriginal people. For 16 years, until her retirement in 1988, Connie worked at the University of Queensland.

Jim Healy, the eldest of the Healy children died in 1988 and then Mick Healy, husband of 43 years, died in the same year. In her retirement, Connie returned to university studies.

In 1991, Connie graduated with a Diploma of Australian Studies from the University of Queensland. She was the joint winner of the Dennis Murphy Labour History scholarship in 1992. On 14 October 1994 she was awarded a Master of Arts. In 2000 Connie Healy's masters thesis on the history of Brisbane working class and radical theatre was published as 'Defiance: Political Theatre in Brisbane 1930-1962'. She was a regular contributor to the Queensland Journal of Labour History and in 2009 was awarded life membership of the Brisbane Labour History Association. She died on 5 December 2016.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Murray Norris was born at Renmar, South Australia in 1914, one of nine children. Mostly unemployed through the Depression years, he was 26 years old before he got his first permanent job in South Australia doing droving. Unemployed again, he moved to New South Wales and became involved in the unemployed movement. Norris joined the Communist Party of Australia in 1932. Unable to join the RAAF in the Second World War he joined the Australian Workers' Union and worked at Mt. Isa mines and in the Northern Territory. Norris became an organiser of the North Australian Workers' Union (NAWU) in 1945, eventually becoming Secretary and Industrial Advocate for the Union in 1947. From 1949 to 1951 he was President of the NAWU. He later became a waterside worker in the Port of Sydney, joining the Waterside Workers' Federation of Australia. Norris was a strong advocate for justice and fair treatment for Aboriginal Australians and gave talks at the University of Queensland to this effect. Norris spent his last days in the home of Mick and Connie Healy before going to hospital. Norris died of cancer on 16 May 1986.

Archival history

Collection previously titled as: Papers, [193-?]-2010
Collection alternatively titled as: Constance Healy Collection.
Alternative title: Connie Healy Collection
Donated by Connie Healy from 1986 to 2010.
Includes the personal papers of Murray Norris, a good friend of Mick and Connie Healy which were donated in 1986. Material on Eva Bacon has been added to the Papers of Ted and Eva Bacon. Ephemera material has been added to various collections.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Research material for thesis (University of Queensland, MA, 1994): “A history of political theatre in Brisbane as part of working-class cultural tradition and heritage: the Workers' Education Dramatic Society and the Student/Unity/New Theatre (1930-1962)". Includes playscripts, mostly performed by Student / Brisbane New Theatre, New Theatre, Unity Theatre; as well as playscripts, skits, and sketches by Jim Crawford.

Research material, drafts and proofs for her book 'Defiance: political theatre in Brisbane 1930-1962' (2000).

Personal papers of Murray Norris, notebooks of Ursula Southwell, and papers concerning George Eaton, Jim Crawford and other prominent figures in labour movement and radical culture circles. Oral history recordings, photographs and other research material relating to the Young Communist League, Eureka Youth League, leftwing bookshops in Brisbane and leftwing political activism. Some records of the Communist Party of Australia. Photographs, pamphlets and other material relating to the 1948 Queensland rail strike. Research material on the post-WW2 peace movement. Articles and speeches by Connie Healy and others are included in the collection as well as some personal correspondence and research material related to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

When known, original order has been maintained.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Unrestricted access.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Contains audio cassettes, b&w and colour photographs, and floppy discs.

Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Related descriptions

Publication note

Material from this collection has been cited in:
Healy, John. Connie Healy's life [online]. Queensland Journal of Labour History, The, No. 24, Mar 2017: 66-71.
Moorcroft, Heather (2016) Paradigms, paradoxes and a propitious niche: conservation and Indigenous social justice policy in Australia, Local Environment, 21:5, 591-614.
Peters-Little, Frances, 1958- & Curthoys, Ann & Docker, John & ProQuest (Firm) (2010). Passionate histories : myth, memory and Indigenous Australia. ANU E Press, Acton, A.C.T
Piccini, Jon (2012)
Milner, Lisa. 'A 'great anti-war play' : bury the dead on the world stage' [online]. Australiasian Drama Studies, No. 72, Apr 2018: [31]-65

Notes area


This collection may contain culturally sensitive words or descriptions, some of which might not normally be used in certain public or community contexts.

Alternative identifier(s)



Alma Local System Number


Millennium Local System Number


Libraries Australia ID

63005080; 45220067; 22197595

OCLC Number


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Description control area

Description identifier

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Level of detail


Dates of creation revision deletion

Revised, SJB, 18-Nov-2022
Revised, Linda Justo, 19-Nov-2019
Migrated from LMS: April 2019, P.A.


  • English



Accession area