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Leslie Thomas (Les) Barnes (1905–1994)

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This entry is from People Australia

Leslie Thomas ‘Les’ Barnes (1905-1994) printer, communist and historian 

Birth: 17 December 1905, Brunswick, Victoria. Son of Albert Barnes, plumber and gas fitter, and Amy Eliza, née Garmston. Marriage: in 1945 in Victoria to Alice Emily ‘Moira’ James (d.1992). Death: 6 July 1994 at Brunswick, Melbourne, Victoria. 

  • Brought up on a diet of politics; initial political ideas were formed during 1913 elections and World War I anti-conscription campaigns. ‘There were three household dogmas discussed around the kitchen table: the self-government of Ireland, Labor politics and the Brunswick Football Club’.
  • Drawn to socialist politics in Brunswick and attending Yarra Bank in 1930s. 13 August 1931, joined Australian Labor Party but was attracted to Marxism by classes offered at Victorian Labor College. After business collapsed in November 1932 joined Workers’ International Relief. Joined Communist Party of Australia (CPA) in December 1932; active in political agitation on behalf of the unemployed. 1964, rejoined ALP (Brunswick Branch), active throughout 1970s.
  • Claimed to be first non-academic to take an interest in Australian labour history. In 1946, established Tom Mann Society with Jim Coull and Perc Laidler; recorded historical material. Later a stalwart of Melbourne branch Australian Society for the Study of Labour History [ASSLH]. Appointed historian of City of Brunswick.

, 56, Feb 1972 v100-105 June 1979-May 1980, v. 119-124, Nov 1982 to Sept 1983, 173, June 1992, 186, August 1994

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Barnes, Leslie Thomas (Les) (1905–1994)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 July 2024.

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