Labour Australia

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

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

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Frederick John (Fred) Dodd (1895–1983)

This article was published:

This entry is from People Australia

Fred Dodd, c.1915

Fred Dodd, c.1915

Frederick John (Fred or ‘Snitcher’) Dodd (1895-1983) storeman, boilermaker and Communist 

Birth: 2 October 1895 at Cooks Hill, Newcastle, New South Wales, son of James Edward Dodd (1861-1935), a labourer later coal-trimmer, born at Everton, Lancashire, England, and Mary Ann, née Harrison (1865-1935), born at Auckland, New Zealand. Marriage: 1924 at Hamilton, Newcastle, NSW, to native-born Edna Barbara Barkell (1903-1994). They had one daughter. Death. 20 March 1983 in a nursing home at Garden Suburb, Newcastle, NSW. Religion: nominal Anglican. 

  • First employed as a storeman at the Engineers’ and Colliery Supplies, Ltd, Newcastle factory. A prominent member of East Newcastle football [Rugby League] club, he was also vice-captain of Cook’s Hill life-saving club.
  • Having completed his compulsory military training in the 39th Fortress Company, Australian Engineers, and putting his age up two years, Dodd enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 13 May 1915. He served with the 20th Battalion at Gallipoli and in France and Belgium. In May 1917 he was congratulated in routine orders for gallant conduct in recent operations in northern France, and in January 1918 was promoted to company sergeant-major (warrant officer, class II). Returning to Australia in 1919, he was discharged in Sydney on 3 August.
  • Completed an apprenticeship as a boilermaker at Newcastle. Was employed in Newcastle and in Sydney until 1932. After three years on the dole he spent the last decade of his working life at the Lambton B Colliery.
  • Member of the Communist Party of Australia by the late 1920s. In 1933, while unemployed, CPA Central Committee sent him to Moscow on a study tour, where he also represented Australia at the Red International of Labour Unions.
  • On his return he was sent to Newcastle to assist in the development of the Militant Minority Movement. Active in the Unemployed Workers Union and the May Day Committee. Unsuccessfully challenged John O’Toole for the position of general secretary of the Federated Society of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders and Structural Iron and Steel Workers of Australia in December 1934. Active in public causes and a frequent letter-writer to the local press. At 1935 state election he stood for the seat of Newcastle as the CPA candidate, polling 8.7% of the vote.
  • After rejoining the workforce in 1935 he was elected as a boilermakers' delegate to the Newcastle Trades Hall Council.
  • Keen and competent footballer. Played Rugby League with East Newcastle and was contracted to play with North Sydney in 1915 until the war changed his plans. After the war he returned to East Newcastle as team captain. Selected to captain the Newcastle representative side which played the visiting English side in 1921. Remained an active supporter of Rugby League throughout his life and was a patron of junior league in his later years. Nickname 'Snitcher' came from his footballing days — possibly from his ability to snitch or snatch the ball.
  • Cause of death: bilateral hypostatic pneumonia, senile dementia, cerebral atherosclerosis and urinary tract infection.
  • His older brother Arthur William Dodd (1892-1917), a grocer, also enlisted in the AIF, and was killed in action serving with the 35th Battalion at Passchendaele, Belgium, on 12 October 1917.

Notes from Ross Edwards, 1992.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Dodd, Frederick John (Fred) (1895–1983)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Fred Dodd, c.1915

Fred Dodd, c.1915

Life Summary [details]


2 October, 1895
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia


20 March, 1983 (aged 87)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Military Service
Key Organisations
Political Activism