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Arthur Silvey Reardon (1888–1973)

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This entry is from People Australia

Arthur Silvey Reardon [aka Silvey-Reardon] (1888-1973) blacksmith, engineer and socialist 

Birth: 23 October 1888, Swindon, Wiltshire, England. Son of Henry Reardon [previously Silvey], blacksmith (1865-1949), and Eleanor ‘Nellie’, née Greenhill (1889-1945). Marriage: 12 March 1910 at the Registry Office, Nottingham, England, to Alice Marcia Carpenter. They had one daughter. Death: 25 July 1973 at Randwick, Sydney, New South Wales. 

  • Served apprenticeship as railway blacksmith in England.
  • Converted to socialism by activists of Socialist Party of Great Britain.
  • Arrived with wife and daughter in Melbourne from Nottingham, England, on Otway. After looking unsuccessfully for employment the family moved to Sydney, where he worked for many years at Clyde Engineering Works, training many apprentices.
  • Joined Socialist Labor Party in 1912, remaining with party until 1916, when he joined the Australian Socialist Party after conflict with defacto SLP leader Ernest Judd’s opposition to unity with the ASP. Was ASP general secretary from 1917 until its demise in 1923. Prominent in ASP's efforts to form branches of Workers' International Industrial Union (WIIU). Enthusiastic exponent of One Big Union ideology. Resigned from WIIU 1918.
  • Member of Blacksmiths' Society; union delegate on NSW Labour Council in early 1920s.
  • Well-read, fluent speaker and skilful amateur member, with wife, of provisional executive of newly-formed Communist Party of Australia, 1920; 1921-22 failed in efforts to have ASP recognised by Comintern in competition with 'Trades Hall group' led by William Paisley Earsman and Jock Garden.
  • Expelled from NSW Labour Council 1922 for accusing executive of using money collected for Russian famine relief fund to pay Council. Subsequently abandoned radical politics.
  • Became expert in metallurgy, writing many articles on blacksmithing & heat.
  • During 1950s worked at General Motors Holden, Melbourne, on heat treatment & travelled to United States of America to further experience.
  • Eventually established own private practice as consultant on heat treatment.
  • Died of broncho pneumonia.

J. Normington-Rawling, ‘Communism Comes to Australia’, unpublished typescript, NBABL, ANU, N57/1; Alastair B. Davidson, The Communist Party of Australia 1920-35: policy and organisation, PhD ANU Canberra 1966; Joy Damousi, Socialist Women in Australia, c.1890-c.1918, PhD thesis, ANU, 1987; R. Sharpe MA thesis, 2003.

Citation details

'Reardon, Arthur Silvey (1888–1973)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 June 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Silvey-Reardon, Arthur
  • Silvey, Arthur

23 October, 1888
Swindon, Wiltshire, England


25 July, 1973 (aged 84)
Randwick, Sydney, 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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism