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Herbert Bovyll (Herb) Chandler (1904–1987)

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This entry is from People Australia

Bert Chandler, n.d.

Bert Chandler, n.d.

Herbert Bovyll (Bert) Chandler (1904-1987) printer, political activist, mayor and Communist 

Birth: 24 October 1904 at West Wyalong, New South Wales, son of David Chandler, and Catherine, née Cusick. Marriage: 1929 at Young, NSW, to Mary Margaret Trudgett. They had three sons and a daughter. Death: 30 October 1987 in a nursing home at Liverpool, Sydney. 

  • Distributed Labor literature as boy in West Wyalong. Entered printing trade.
  • In 1928 campaign director for Parker Moloney for the Australian Labor Party in Hume electorate. In 1930 secretary of Young ALP directing campaigns for Clarrie Martin.
  • 1932 moved to Lithgow where became leader of unemployed, editor of Clarion, secretary of Lithgow branch of ALP and President of Macquarie ALP District Assembly. 1937 elected mayor of Lithgow.
  • Became secret member of Communist Party of Australia in the late 1930s. In 1940 contested ALP preselection for Macquarie, losing to Chifley, but remaining friendly with ‘Chif’.
  • From 1941 to 1943 was secretary of Hughes-Evans Labor Party. Member of CPA Central Committee from 1944.
  • Manager CPA Printery and CPA treasurer who ‘played the capitalist, making investments, dealing with accountants and watching the bottom line’.
  • In the 1950s placed under ‘an astounding degree of physical and telephone surveillance…every phone call to and from his office intercepted and noted’.
  • In 1953 house was raided, providing ASIO with treasure trove of CPA material and incriminating information re confidential matters from Department of External Affairs.
  • Left suddenly for Hong Kong in 1954, where intercepted. Pilloried during Petrov Royal Commission. Following CPA split, became member of Central Commission CPA (Marxist-Leninist).
  • Cause of death hypostatic pneumonia, senile dementia, prostatic hypertrophy and moderate renal failure.

Sources
John Playford Doctrinal and strategic problems of the Communist Party of Australia, 1945-1962, PhD thesis ANU, 1962; Malcolm Henry Ellis, The Garden path (Sydney, 1949); Robert Manne, The Petrov affair: politics and espionage, (Sydney, 1987); David McKnight, Australia’s spies and their secrets (St Leonards, NSW, 1994) and Espionage and the roots of the Cold War: the conspiratorial heritage, London, 2002); photo and profile, Tribune (Sydney), 16 December 1943, p 4 [https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/208686859]; Vanguard, 1987.

Additional Resources

  • profile, Tribune (Sydney), 16 December 1943, p 4
  • ASIO file, A6126, 151 (National Archives of Australia)
  • ASIO file, vol 7, A6119, 77/reference copy (National Archives of Australia)

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Chandler, Herbert Bovyll (Herb) (1904–1987)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://labouraustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/chandler-herbert-bovyll-herb-33282/text41530, accessed 23 February 2024.

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