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Audley, Thomas (Tom) (1892–1982)

This entry is from People Australia

Thomas (Tom) Audley. Birth: 3 Jan 1892, South Melbourne, Vic. Son of Charles Audley & Bridget née Brown. Married: Amanda (Madge) Roden. Death: 31 Dec 1982.

Parents were immigrants from New Ross, Ireland. Eldest of four children and was child when father died. Attended local Catholic School, took odd jobs – washing and cleaning to supplement family income. Left school aged 14, went to work in wine and spirit business, sacked for joining union, which made him ‘a bit of a rebel’. Blacklisted for a time but then worked as barman and shop attendant. Joined Wholesale Storeman & Packers Union, 30 March 1912. Membership of Albert Park Yachting and Angling Club brought him into contact with other young radicals, formed No-Conscription Fellowship during WWI. Joined WIIU and elected General Secretary and Treasurer. Editor of One Big Union Herald, assisted survival of journal and WIIU into 1920s. Joined weak and demoralised Shop Assistants’ Union and helped to revitalize it. Active on a number of wage boards, ALP conference, Five Day Week Council and Trades Hall Council (THC). Once defeated J.V. Stout in union election forcing incumbent THC President to seek union nomination elsewhere. Worked closely with both ALP (joined during Depression) and CPA. Expelled from ALP during Cold War because of alleged links with communists, but reinstated on appeal. ALP later recognised his 40 year service, particularly in Thornbury and Northcote branches, with medal. From 1959 active in Pioneers of Progress. 1961-1982, also active in ASSLH, Melbourne Branch, held office of Treasurer, elected life member. Friend of La Trobe Library, Melbourne, and supporter former South Melbourne FC. Never sought paid office in any union or party but ‘always understood that the only way of improving his own position in life was to advance the condition of the whole working class’. Aged 80 joined pickets at front doors of supermarkets when late Friday night shopping reintroduced.

Recorder, 76, June 1975; 3, 96, Oct 1978, Feb 1983; Shop Assistant, 1983

Original Publication

  • Biographical Register of the Australian Labour Movement 1788-1975, 2012

Citation details

'Audley, Thomas (Tom) (1892–1982)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 26 September 2020.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012