Affectionately known as one of ‘our girls’ in union office

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PATRICIA (TRISH) STODDART December 1, 1951-April 5, 2023

Patricia (Trish) Stoddart, who has passed away at the age of 71, started work aged 17 with the Victorian Federated Engine Drivers and Firemen’s Association (FEDFA) in 1969.

She was employed as a junior clerk and typist in the office at the Melbourne Trades Hall.

She was eventually employed by the union for 36 years from 1969 until 2005 when the FEDFA completed an amalgamation process with the CFMEU. During these 36 years, her work included being the union bookkeeper and eventually office manager.

At the time of her finishing employment with the FEDFA in 2005, Trish was possibly the longest-serving member of staff that the FEDFA in Victoria ever had since it was formed in 1907. She was also employed by the union for longer than many officials she worked with.

Over the years, Trish developed a great union corporate memory, and was indispensable to the general running and operation of the FEDFA office.

She was able to provide invaluable help to officials who often sought and depended on her advice and opinion.

She also fearlessly offered advice even when it wasn’t asked for.

As the go to person on superannuation, officials and staff of the FEDFA were grateful to Trish for her knowledge and advice about the workings of their super.

Trish’s expertise and experience was also present in the transition of the FEDFA to amalgamation with the CFMEU.

Her personality and presence contributed in no small measure to make the FEDFA office a pleasant place to work and visit by job delegates.

The final office staff to work with Trish were Kylie Scott and Sharon Wood Bradley, who in addition to getting on well together, also had a good relationship with officials and job delegates and others who visited the office.

One of the union job delegates who regularly came to the FEDFA office, affectionately referred to Trish, Kylie and Sharon, and as “our girls”.

During her period with the FEDFA from 1969 until 2005, Trish was to work with four state secretaries, the last being Tommy Watson.

Patricia Stoddart wasn’t an elected trade union official, and as with other staff working in union and other offices, often without recognition. She deserves to be remembered and honoured for her exceptional contribution to the Victorian trade union movement.

Brothers Brian and John and sisters Cathy, Kerin and Mary (dec.) are her immediate family.

Malcolm McDonald is a former Victorian state secretary of the FEDFA.

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