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William Gilbert (Gil) Bodsworth (1893–1974)

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William Gilbert (Gil) Bodsworth (1893-1974) wood machinist, trade union leader and Communist activist 

Birth: 8 May 1893 at Sandringham, Victoria, son of James Alexander Bodsworth, gardener and cartage contractor, and Sarah Anne, née Blencowe. Marriage: 1940 at St Kilda, Melbourne, to Gladys Olive Davis. They had a son and a daughter. Death: 30 August 1974 at Prahran, Victoria. Religion: nominally Methodist. 

  • Apprenticed for five years with Love, Royle & Thurgood, at St Kilda.
  • Enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 15 May 1917 and served in France, giving his religion as Methodist. Returned to Australia and was discharged in December 1919.
  • Early member of Communist Party of Australia in Melbourne, joining about 1923. Communist on Melbourne Trades Hall Council.
  • 1929 led timber workers’ strike. President of Timber Workers’ Union for fifteen years.
  • Leader of Unemployed Workers’ Movement, Melbourne in early 1930s.
  • Badly beaten by police in course of several demonstrations, was arrested and gaoled.
  • Particular target of hostility from right wing Australian Labor Party, and Trades Hall Council elements.
  • According to police was a ‘violent man who had acted against constituted authority’.
  • Frequent CPA speaker on Yarra Bank, remaining active in Melbourne leftist circles.

, 72, Oct 1974, Tribune, 10 Sept 1974, p 11; Charles Fox, Fighting Back: the politics of the unemployed in Victoria in the Great Depression, (Carlton, 2000).

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Citation details

'Bodsworth, William Gilbert (Gil) (1893–1974)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 27 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


8 May, 1893
Sandringham, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


30 August, 1974 (aged 81)
Prahran, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Military Service
Key Events
Key Organisations
Political Activism