There is a fine art to dying on the wrong day. The passing of Aldous Huxley, writer, visionary, ’60s inspiration, would have been more marked had he been visionary enough not to go around November 22, 1963, date of a slight unpleasantness in Dallas. The evangelist Billy Graham’s passing a week or so ago threw a long shadow over someone who was in the same trade of raising people up, though from somewhat different inspiration. Zelda D’Aprano, whose death at the grand old age of 90 was announced the same day as Graham’s.
Graham really did one thing (roiling cheering crowds in their hundreds of thousands), and was famous for many things. D’Aprano did many things, but was famous for one. In 1969, when the Australian Council of Trade Unions refused to support a case for equal wages for women in the Arbitration Court, Zelda chained herself to the railings of the Commonwealth Building in protest. Soon she was joined by two other women, then it became a mass cause. Three years later, legal wage equality was instituted.