HISTORIC AUSTRALIAN COMMUNISTS

 

The Australian Communist Party has a long and proud history fighting for the economic and social liberation of the Australian working class. Find out more about Australia’s past Communist leaders and activists!

 

BOB BRITON

Bob Briton joined the Communist Party of Australia in 1979. A lifelong activist campaigning against Nuclear activity and for the accessibility of Public Housing. Bob Briton has served as the General Secretary of the Australian Communist Party since its founding in 2019.

JACK MCPHILLIPS

Jack McPhillips (1910-2004) born in Rockhampton, Queensland, joined the CPA in 1929. Militant trade unionist, activist and official, he served as the President of the CPA from 1984-1988 and dedicated his life to the working class cause.

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RAY O’SHANNASSY

Ray O’Shannassy (1923-1990), labourer, communist and trade unionist, born in Mount Pritchard, NSW. Secretary of the ACT Labor Council, his tenacity, determination and activism led to being arrested on more than 300 occassions.

NOEL COUNIHAN

Noel Jack Counihan (1913-1986), artist and pioneer, born in Albert Park, Melbourne. Joining the CPA at around 1933, his politics resonated through his artwork. Counihan’s paintings can be found in many galleries across Australia.

BERTHA WALKER

Bertha May Walker (1912-1975), was born in Richmond, Melbourne. A dedicated comrade, she attended her first lectures on communism at the age of 8. Leading a colourful life including heading the 8-hour-day May Day procession as the queen in 1924.

LANCE SHARKEY

Lance Sharkey (1898–1967) a legend in our movement, was an Australian trade union activist, a radical journalist and a Communist politician. From 1948 to 1965, Lance Sharkey served as the General Secretary of the ACP - CPA.

RUPERT LOCKWOOD

Rupert Ernest Lockwood (1908 -1997), joined the Communist Party in 1939. One of Australia’s most prominent communists during 1939-1969, and a courageous figure during the Royal Commission into Espionage in Australia (1954-55).

PETER SYMON

Peter Symon (1922-2008) General Secretary of the Communist Party of Australia from 1971 to 2008. Joining at the age of 16, Peter Symon served in World War 2, serving in the army, then the air force, and in later life working as a waterside labourer in Adelaide.

FLORENCE CLUFF

Florence Amy (Flo) Cluff (1902-1990), trade unionist, communist and pensioner activist.. Organiser, assistant secretary (1941) and secretary (1945) of the HCRU. One of the first women elected as secretary of a union, she joined the party in February 1937.

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ELLIOT V. ELIOT

Elliot V. Eliot (1902–1984), born in Huntly, New Zealand. A fierce trade union delegate known for his negotiating skills, he joined the Federated Seamen’s Union of Australia in 1919 and served as the General Secretary for thirty-seven years from 1941 to 1978.

MARY LESTER

Mary Grace Lester (1911-1980), political activist, was born in Perth and joined the CPA in the 40s. Secretary of the W.A branch of the Union of Australian Women, Mary Lester campaigned against the Cold War and nuclear disarmament.

FRED PATERSON

Fred Paterson (1897-1977), barrister and politician, was born in Gladstone, Queensland. A successful lawyer and the first communist to be elected to Parliament in Australia. Editor of the North Queensland Guardian, Paterson was an example of Communist action in Parliament.

GLADYS O’SHANE

Gladys Dorothy O'Shane (1919-1965), was an Aboriginal political activist, born in Mossman, Queensland. Joining the CPA in 1959 and the women's auxiliary of the Waterside Workers' Federation.

IDRIS WILLIAMS

Idris Williams (1895-1960), coalminer and trade unionist, was born in Glamorgan, Wales. A singer, activist and staunch unionist, he led the Miners’ Federation as Victorian state president (1934-46) and National Secretary (1946-47).

EVA BACON

Eva Bacon (1909–1994), dress designer, political activist, and feminist, was born in Vienna. Joining the CPA in 1941, Eva Bacon was a staunch feminist and activist, holding many positions including being the State Secretary of the Union of Australian Women from (1972–80).

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RALPH GIBSON

Ralph Siward Gibson (1906-1989), communist organiser and successful writer, was born in Hampstead, London. Joining the CPA in 1932, for nearly forty years (apart from three years during World War II), Ralph Gibson was a dedicated full-time party organiser.

PHYLLIS JOHNSON

Phyllis Johnson (1917 - 2009), was born in Albany, Western Australia. A staunch activist fighting many battles including the attempts to ban the Communist Party, for women’s refuges and equal pay and, most famously, against rising prices .

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HARALD VIKE

Harald Hansen Vike (1906-1987), artist, illustrator and cartoonist, was born in Kodal, Norway. An accomplished artist, who drew for the party’s publications, joining the CPA in 1935 and went on to found the ‘Workers Art Guild’ in 1936.

JACK MUNDEY

Jack Mundey was born in Malanda, Queensland. A phenomenal character and activist, he headed the NSW Builders Labourers Federation from 1968-1975. Mundey is most remembered for the militant campaign named the “Green Bans”, which protected public housing and heritage buildings.

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DOROTHY GIBSON

Dorothy Gibson (1899-1978), teacher, communist and peace activist, was born in Malvern, Melbourne. Joining the CPA in 1936, Dorothy Gibson was a dedicated comrade campaigning in Anti War and Anti Fascist organisations.

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JACK MILES

Jack Miles (1888-1969), stonemason, trade unionist and Communist Party leader, was born in Roxburghshire, Scotland. Known for his militancy, Miles lead the communist movement and represented workers in their fight for liberation.

JIM HEALY

James (Jim) Healy (1898-1961), trade unionist and activist, was born in Manchester, England. Joining the CPA in 1934, elected General Secretary of the Waterside Workers’ Federation, leading the 1937-38 “Pig Iron” dispute.