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David Alfred Andrade (1859–1928)

by Andrew Reeves

This article was published:

This entry is from the Australian Dictionary of Biography

David Alfred Andrade (1859-1928), and William Charles Andrade (1863-1939), anarchists and booksellers, were born at Collingwood, Victoria, sons of Abraham Da Costa Andrade, storekeeper, and his wife Maria, née Giles, both from Middlesex, England. David was born on 30 April 1859 and William on 12 October 1863. William had to leave school early, studying at night after working long hours in a drapery shop. Both brothers were active in Joseph Symes's Australasian Secular Association, but their increasing advocacy of anarchist theory led to tension within that primarily freethought society. In May 1886, they helped to form the Melbourne Anarchists' Club: author of its 'Prospectus', David was elected secretary, and was also chief organizer and theoretician. Via the American periodical, Liberty, he developed a commitment to Proudhonist anarchism, a libertarian doctrine of individual emancipation (in his case consciously artisan-orientated) rather than mass revolution.

David set up as a bookseller, stationer, newsagent and printer at North Brunswick and later at his 'Liberty Hall' in Russell Street, Melbourne. An active speaker, he was also founder of the Melbourne Co-operative No. 1, a workshop at Albert Park. He contributed news and theoretical items to overseas anarchist papers, but his more significant works were published locally: Money: A Study of the Currency Question (1887); Our Social System (n.d.); An Anarchist Plan of Campaign (1888); and a utopian novel, The Melbourne Riots and How Harry Holdfast and his Friends Emancipated the Workers (1892).

When the Anarchist Club dissolved in 1888, David sought unsuccessfully to revive the Sunday Free Discussion Society. In the early 1890s he became secretary to the Unemployed Workers' Association in Richmond, concerned to encourage co-operative production and assist in land settlement, themes which had been central to his novel. He turned to the South Sassafras village settlement when, in 1894, business failure reduced him to near destitution, and became a '10-acre selector', storekeeper and mailman. His later years are obscure. He died in hospital at Wendouree on 23 May 1928 and was buried in St Kilda cemetery.

By 1887 Will had moved to Sydney with his wife Emma Louisa, née Wickham, whom he had married at the Richmond registry office on 3 February 1886. He represented the Anarchists' Club at the Australasian Freethought Conference in Sydney, staying there to become a 'dealer in progressive works'. He did not succeed in establishing an anarchists' club and sought to influence the newly formed Australian Socialist League. After some time in Mackay, Queensland, he returned to Melbourne, set up in a grocery business and became interested in acting. In 1898 he started a bookshop at 201 Bourke Street, moving in the late 1920s to Swanston Street. Andrade stocked mainly theatrical and conjuring books and supplies, but his shop also became a significant propaganda and organizing centre for emergent socialist groups throughout Australasia. His imports of radical literature ordered by left-wing groups were detained several times during World War I, but an intelligence report vouched for his 'good character'. He was an active anti-conscriptionist but later withdrew from political activity, though still radical in outlook. Through Percy Laidler, manager of the bookshop until the late 1920s, Andrade's published the first Australian editions in translation of several of Lenin's works.

In 1920 Andrade moved to Sydney, opening a branch in Central Square, later transferring to 173 Pitt Street. His first wife had died in Melbourne in 1894 and on 6 September 1907 at North Sydney he married Hilda Champion Sinclair with Unitarian rites; their only son later managed the Melbourne business. Andrade made three trips to Europe between 1910 and 1935; in 1910 he also visited the United States of America. He was surfing at South Steyne beach on 11 November 1939 when a dumper flung him into shallow water; he died at Manly District Hospital half an hour later, survived by his wife, their son, and two daughters of his first marriage.

Select Bibliography

  • S. A. Rosa, The Truth About the Unemployed Agitation of 1890 (Melb, 1890)
  • H. Coulson, Story of the Dandenongs (Melb, 1959)
  • B. Walker, Solidarity Forever (Melb, 1972)
  • S. Merrifield, ‘The Melbourne Anarchist Club 1886-1891’, Bulletin (Australian Labour History, Canberra), no 3, Nov 1962, and ‘The formation of the Melbourne Anarchist Club’, Recorder (Labour History, Melbourne), no 1, July 1964, and ‘David Alfred Andrade’, Recorder, no 5, Mar 1965
  • Honesty (Melbourne), Apr-June, Aug, Oct, Nov 1887, Feb, Apr-June, Aug, Nov 1888
  • Tocsin, 12 May, 1 Dec 1898
  • M. MacNamara, A View of Society: Melbourne Anarchists in the 1890s (B.A. Hons thesis, University of Melbourne, 1972)
  • W. Andrade papers (State Library of New South Wales)
  • private information.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Andrew Reeves, 'Andrade, David Alfred (1859–1928)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


30 April, 1859
Collingwood, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


23 May, 1928 (aged 69)
Wendouree, Victoria, Australia

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