Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Jessie Mary Lloyd (1883–1960)

by Anna E. Blainey

This article was published:

Jessie Mary Lloyd (1883-1960), temperance campaigner, was born on 13 June 1883 at Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England, daughter of Harry Hunt, iron-plate worker, and his wife Louisa, née Griffiths. The family migrated to Melbourne in the Lusitania in May 1884. On 24 October 1905 at St Hilary's Church of England, East Kew, Jessie married Robert Griffiths, a company manager also from Wolverhampton. They had three children before Robert died in 1916. On 22 August 1923 at the Methodist Church, Kew, Jessie married Rev. George Samuel Lloyd, a Methodist minister and a widower with one surviving child; he was stationed at Stawell.

Jessie had joined the Woman's Christian Temperance Union as a young woman. Her activities focussed particularly on educating children about the importance of teetotalism for the health and the welfare of society. One important W.C.T.U. programme for children was the elocution contest, in which they would recite poems or prose on the subject of temperance. Mrs Lloyd (most often known as Griffiths Lloyd) was the Australasian superintendent of this department in 1921-30 and served on W.C.T.U. education committees that aimed to teach children teetotalism through the schools and W.C.T.U.-endorsed literature. She wrote regular articles for the Victorian White Ribbon Signal and contributed often to its home hints page, believing that the best way to produce a generation of teetotallers was by reaching out to the mothers.

In addition, Lloyd served as recording secretary to the Victorian W.C.T.U. in 1913-15 and in 1920-23. She was vice-president (1929) and in 1930-33 president. By then, the organization had a membership of almost 10,000 and it held the ambitious aim of procuring the prohibition of alcohol in Australia. A State poll taken in 1930, at which forty-three per cent of electors had voted for a dry Victoria, gave hope that this would eventually be possible. In 1933 she was elected vice-president of the Australasian (later the National) W.C.T.U. and was president from 1936.

After stepping down as president in 1945, Lloyd continued her work of promoting alcohol awareness in mothers' groups, especially in working-class areas. As superintendent of the Victorian W.C.T.U.'s peace and arbitration department, she co-operated with other peace and church organizations in petitioning the government for progressive disarmament. The W.C.T.U. delegate at the 1957 convention for the Australian Association for Peace, on her return she persuaded the executive to protest to the British government against atomic testing on Australian territory. In her later years she campaigned for regulations for food and hygiene. Lloyd was not a single-issue campaigner and did not see alcohol as the only scourge of humanity: at the National W.C.T.U. convention of 1960 she stated that the greatest problem of the day was inadequate food for the world's people.

Recognized for her fine oratorical skills and also her musical talents, she played the piano accompaniment at meetings and with Mrs H. C. Herbert compiled a W.C.T.U. songbook. Predeceased by her husband, Mrs Lloyd died at her home at Blackburn on 24 October 1960 and her body was donated to the anatomy department of the University of Melbourne; a service was held at Blackburn Methodist Church. Two daughters and a son from her first marriage survived her and inherited her estate, sworn for probate at £10,719.

Select Bibliography

  • I. McCorkindale (ed), Pioneer Pathways (Melb, 1948)
  • J. Pargeter, For God, Home and Humanity (Adel, 1995)
  • WCTU (Victoria), Annual Report, 1920-60
  • White Ribbon Signal, Nov 1960.

Citation details

Anna E. Blainey, 'Lloyd, Jessie Mary (1883–1960)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2005, accessed online 26 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplementary Volume, (Melbourne University Press), 2005

View the front pages for the Supplementary Volume

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Hunt, Jessie
  • Griffiths Lloyd, Jessie

13 June, 1883
Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England


24 October, 1960 (aged 77)
Blackburn, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.