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Joseph (Joe) Carter (1907–?)

This article was published:

This entry is from People Australia

Joseph ‘Joe’ Carter  (1907-?) wharf labourer and Communist activist 

Birth: 17 June 1907 Port Hacking, New South Wales, son of unknown father and Alice, née Summers. Marriage: 2 July 1953 at the District Registrar’s office, Wollongong, NSW, to Edith Eliza, née Whitehead, late Smith (1898-1975). Death: unknown 

  • Very little schooling due to itinerant family. Entered workforce aged 13 as navvy employed on railway deviation at Lithgow, where he worked for two years.
  • Swagman and rouseabout in shearing sheds, apprehended under ‘Mass Assembly Act’ at Mungindi, near Queensland border, for persuading scab shearers to leave sheds.
  • After humping bluey for some years around Queensland, NSW and Victoria returned to Lithgow at the height of the Depression.
  • In 1937 was working at Port Kembla, NSW, as a steel worker. Joined Communist Party of Australia. Was an International Brigadier in Spain from March 1938, paying own fare, passing through London where he contacted the Communist Party of Great Britain and the Spanish Relief Committee. Participated in Barcelona farewell with mate Jim McNeil as colour bearer of XVth Brigade.
  • Repatriated in 1939, returning to Port Kembla where he found work as a wharfie.
  • Returned to Sydney where he remained a rank and file militant in the Waterside Workers’ Federation until his retirement in 1972. Immediately joined Pensioners’ Association ‘to help to improve the lot of the workers’.
  • In 1980 was a waterside worker living at Wollongong West, NSW. Interviewed in 1986 he told Laurie Aarons, “I will be a communist until I die and support the struggle of people everywhere against oppression and capitalist exploitation.”

Maritime Worker
, 19 September 1972; Amirah Inglis, Australians in the Spanish Civil War (Sydney, 1987); Joe Carter interview with Glenn Mitchell, ; Nettie Palmer and Len Fox, with the help of Jim McNeill and Ron Hurd, Australians in Spain, (Sydney, May 1948).

Additional Resources

  • interview, Tribune (Sydney), 16 July 1986, p 16

Citation details

'Carter, Joseph (Joe) (1907–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012