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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

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Thomas Barrett Bell (1899–1976)

by Allison Murchie

This article was published:

This entry is from People Australia

Thomas Barrett Bell (1899-1976) waterside worker, drover and Communist

Birth: 6 March 1899 at Royal Park, South Australia, son of South Australian-born parents Daniel David Bell and Elizabeth Jane, née Barrett. Marriage: 9 December 1922 in Alberton, Adelaide, to Irene Jessie May Lindsay. They had three (?) daughters and four (?) sons. Death: 16 September 1976 in Adelaide. 

  • Educated at Alberton Model School (expelled at age of 10) and Woodville High School.
  • chairman, Unemployed Workers at Woodville and Port Adelaide. Sold many copies of the Workers Weekly and Red Leader at Port Adelaide factories, and to the unemployed.
  • Expelled for not being a financial member of the union. Marched with other waterside workers on ships being minded by scab workers. Had many skirmishes with the police over picketing and public speaking.
  • Joined the Communist Party of Australia before the Depression. One of three who set up the Unemployed Workers at Port Adelaide. Joined Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) ‘the Wobblies’.

Oral History interview 1973 by Betty Fisher, held in State Library of South Australia.

Citation details

Allison Murchie, 'Bell, Thomas Barrett (1899–1976)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 July 2024.

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