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Leonard George (Len) Boardman (1897–1989)

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Leonard George (Len) Boardman, also known as ‘Len Tracey’ (1897-1989) miner, trade union leader, Communist activist 

Birth: 1897 in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, son of George Boardman and Margaret. Marriage: [according to his death certificate] 1950 in Sydney, New South Wales, to Rachel Smith Boardman (1915-1994). Death: 31 March 1989 in Coniston Nursing Home, Coniston, NSW. 

  • During World War I joined British Army (aged 19) and served with artillery in France.
  • In 1920 arrived in Australia and worked first in Western Australian gold mines, then moved to Darwin, Northern Territory. In 1927 was a leader of unemployed demonstration in Darwin that resulted in NT Administrator Urquhart bailed up in office for four days and a hammer and sickle flag raised on official flagpole.
  • In 1929 moved to Illawarra, NSW, where he established the Unemployed Workers’ Movement [UWM]. Changed his name to Len Tracey to avoid police connecting him to the Darwin episode. Joined the Communist Party of Australia.
  • Worked at Port Kembla fertiliser works, and as a coal miner at Excelsior mine, North Bulli, and at Coalcliff from 1940 to 1958. He also spent periods at Captain’s Flat copper mine and as an Australian Workers’ Union organiser.
  • Militant, prominently involved in 1949 coal strike and other industrial campaigns, when active in the Coalcliff Miners Lodge. Played an important role in establishing Coledale Hospital, close to the pits.
  • Seriously injured in a mine accident in January 1954. Was Communist candidate for Bulli in by-election for State parliament in July 1955 won for the Australian Labor Party by young Rex Jackson.
  • Boardman retired in 1958. Became treasurer, NSW Southern District of Retired Mineworkers Association and South Coast representative on retired unionists’ organisation.
  • Cause of death bronchopneumonia.

Common Cause
, 14 November 1984, 20 February 1985.

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'Boardman, Leonard George (Len) (1897–1989)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Tracey, Len

Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England


31 March, 1989 (aged ~ 92)
Wollongong, 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 Events
Key Organisations
Political Activism