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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.

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Joseph Francis (Joe) Howe (1916–1988)

by Mike Donaldson

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

Joe [Joseph Francis] Howe, who died in September, was both a dedicated unionist and an activist in the peace movement.

Joe will be remembered, too, for his tireless work to build the Workers' Medical Centre in Wollongong and for his long and abiding concern for the local environment, particularly for Lake Illawarra. His last of many letters on that subject appeared in the Advertiser a day or so after he was admitted to hospital.

Joe joined the Communist Party when he was 17 and remained an active communist all his life. He suffered both the split of 1971 when he left the CP for the SPA and the more recent split in that organisation, when he helped form the Association of Communist Unity.

Joe was pleased with the way that things are going on the left currently, happy to see discussions and joint actions occurring among the left parties, welcoming glasnost and seeking in it the search for honesty and unity which were so much part of his own life.

In that, as in so many things, our actions will be the best way we can honor his memory.

Original Publication

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Citation details

Mike Donaldson, 'Howe, Joseph Francis (Joe) (1916–1988)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia


17 September, 1988 (aged ~ 72)
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (prostate)

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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism