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Edward William (Ted) Bulmer (1898–1994)

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This entry is from People Australia

Edward William (Ted) Bulmer (1898-1994) carpenter, Communist and trade union leader 

Birth: 23 June 1898 in Petersham, Sydney, New South Wales, son of William Henry Bulmer (1865-1949), book-keeper later orchardist born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England, and Ruth Anne, née Nicholson (1865-1942), a homoeopath, born in Avoca, County Wicklow, Ireland.  Marriage: 1 July 1924 in St John’s Anglican church, Glebe, Sydney to native-born Reinee Davis (1897-1988), milliner. They had one daughter. Death: 25 July 1994 at the War Veterans Home, Collaroy, Sydney. 

  • Was a clerk, living at Petersham when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 31 March 1915. Served with the 17th Battalion in France from 18 August 1917 and was wounded in action on 16 September. After some time in hospital he was sent back to the front on 29 November. Returned to Australia aboard the Chemnitz on 8 September 1919 and was discharged in Sydney on 3 January 1920.
  • By May 1921 Bulmer was active in Soldiers’ Vigilance Society meetings in Sydney Domain.
  • In December 1931 he was district secretary of the United Front against Fascism in Bexley. He was Communist Party of Australia candidate for the seat of Kogarah in the NSW State elections in 1935. He was a carpenter-joiner when he contested the Bexley municipal council by-election for the CPA in January 1937.
  • President of the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners of NSW in December 1941-1942. President of the Building Worker’s Industrial Union (BWIU) of NSW in 1943 and 1945, he was federal president of the BWIU from November 1946 to 1955, for much of the period with Frank Purse as general secretary. Succeeded by Gerry Dawson.
  • Somewhat humourless and puritanical.

Tom McDonald and Audrey McDonald, Intimate union: sharing a revolutionary life (1998); John Playford, Doctrinal and strategic problems of the Communist Party of Australia, 1945-1962, PhD thesis, ANU, 1962.

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Citation details

'Bulmer, Edward William (Ted) (1898–1994)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 May 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


23 June, 1898
Petersham, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


25 July, 1994 (aged 96)
Collaroy, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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