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Andrew (Andy) Barras (1897–1971)

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Andrew ‘Andy’ Barras (1897-1971) plumber, trade union leader and Communist 

Birth: 1897 in Glasgow, Scotland. Son of George Barras, chemist, and Margaret, née Finlayson, a nurse. Marriage: (1) 1920 in New Zealand to Nita Freeman (d.1961). They had one daughter. (2nd marriage) 1962 at Chatswood, Sydney, to Eileen Isobel Auchinloss, née Smith, late Herbert. Death: 24 April 1971 in Sydney, New South Wales. 

  • Migrated to Auckland, New Zealand, from Scotland with family in the Aotea, in January 1902. Educated in Wellngton, where family was prominent in the labour movement.
  • In 1921 foundation member of Communist Party of New Zealand (CPNZ) in Auckland.
  • Moved to Sydney, active in the Australian Socialist Party. Returned to New Zealand in mid 1920s, became active again in Auckland’s communist circles.
  • c.1927 returned to Sydney, joined the CPA [Communist Party of Australia], served on the Central Committee 1928-1930.
  • Editor of Workers’ Weekly until replaced by Lawrence Sharkey in 1929.
  • 1930 expelled for disloyalty and anti-working-class activities. Rejoined later following a public statement of self-criticism, and acknowledgement of ‘incorrectness’ of previous views. Afterwards played less significant role than previously. Contested Sydney seat of Croydon as CPA candidate in March 1935.
  • Active in Plumbers’ Union, delegate to NSW Trades and Labour Council.

Taylor, 1991; Stuart Macintyre, The Reds: The Communist Party of Australia from origins to illegality (Sydney, 1998).

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'Barras, Andrew (Andy) (1897–1971)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 16 April 2024.

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