Life and career
Melville was born Gertrude Mary Day on 7 October 1884 to parents John Joseph Day, a sawyer, and Mary Ann Dunbar in Port Macquarie, New South Wales. She moved to Sydney to attend the St Peter's convent school in the inner-city suburb of Surry Hills. In 1903 she married Arthur Melville, a New Zealand labourer, with whom she had five sons.
Melville became a member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in 1904 and campaigned extensively with other party members for women and children's rights. In the periods of 1922–26 and 1950–52, she was a member of the party's central executive committee. In 1925 she stood as an ALP candidate for the Eastern Suburbs district in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly elections, and in 1932 she was a candidate for the district of Hurstville; both times she was unsuccessful. Throughout the 1940s, she worked as a justice of the peace, a member of the New South Wales Board of Health, an alderman of the Cabramatta and Canley Vale municipal council, vice-president of the Country Women's Association's Cabramatta branch, and director of Fairfield Hospital. She was Mayor of Cabramatta–Canley Vale from 1945 to 1948.
In 1952 Melville was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Council in order to fill a vacancy caused by another member's death. Although she only served for one term, she earned a reputation as the "grand old lady of the Labor Party". She dedicated her time in parliament to being a "spokesman for the women" and "the little people", supporting equal pay for women, child welfare, housing and hospitals.
- Ritter, Leonora (2000). "Melville, Gertrude Mary (1884–1959)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
- Alafaci, Annette (1 February 2006). "Melville, Gertrude Mary (1884–1959)". Australian Women's Archives Project Web Site. National Foundation for Australian Women. Retrieved 28 September 2014.