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Audrey Elsie Blake (1916–2006)

This article was published:

Audrey Blake, 1952

Audrey Blake, 1952

Courtesy of John Hughes

Audrey Elsie Blake, née Boyd (1916-2006) Communist activist 

Birth: 9 August 1916 in South Melbourne, Victoria, daughter of Victorian-born Donald McDonald Boyd (1891-1979), sheetmetal worker, later rubber worker, and Elsie Maria, née Rees (1894-1934). Marriage: 13 April 1934 in Victoria to John David ‘Jack’ Blake. They had one daughter. Death: 1 November 2006 in Marrickville, Sydney. 

  • Parents separated when she was young. Educated at Middle Park Public School, Melbourne Girls High (two terms, leaving aged 14 when £2 fee imposed). Employed at Lucullus Ltd, Melbourne, as counterhand. From shop witnessed demonstrations by unemployed. Joined Youth Section of the Friends of Soviet Union and became Victorian State secretary.
  • In 1932 joined Young Communist League (YCL), appointed to State executive, aged 17. Involvement in Communist Party of Australia activities during Depression led to falling out with employer.
  • Visited Soviet Union as Australian YCL representative in 1937 with her husband and daughter. From 1941 to 1952 was national secretary of the Eureka Youth League, which replaced the YCL. From 1938 to 1952 was a member of the CPA Central Committee and a full time functionary.
  • To Sydney in 1949 at the party's request. Increasingly out of sympathy with CPA leaders, Sharkey and Hill. In 1955 resigned from central and state committees. In 1966 resigned from CPA.
  • Remained a committed Marxist, active in left-wing politics and cultural activities. After leaving party work, worked in a shop and toy warehouse.

Audrey Blake, A Proletarian Life (Kibble, Malmsbury, 1984). Labour History, 42; Tribune, 7 March 1984; Film, 'Red Matildas' (1984); John Playford, Doctrinal and strategic problems of the Communist Party of Australia, 1945-1962 (PhD thesis, ANU, 1962) p 415; Sydney Morning Herald, 22 November 2006, p 20.

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'Blake, Audrey Elsie (1916–2006)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 24 April 2024.

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