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Annie Katherine Brownrigg (1904–1975)

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Annie Katherine Brownrigg, née McPhie, late Kear (1904-1975) housewife, Communist and community activist 

Birth: 13 May 1904 in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland, daughter of Alexander Macphie (1870-1955), soldier later wharf labourer, and Anne May Tabret, née Dixon or Brown (1867-1912).  Marriages: (1) 28 April 1923 in Queensland to Sydney Kear, a wharf labourer, later seaman, born at Wickham, Hampshire, England, who had arrived in Queensland in 1911. They had a daughter and two sons. (2) de facto relationship from about 1950 with Gore Atkin (‘Paddy’) Brownrigg (1905-1975), a seaman born in Croneyhorn, Shillelagh, Ireland, whom she may have married in about 1965. Death: 5 December 1975 in Caboolture, Queensland. 

  • Arrived in Queensland with parents and siblings in about 1911. In October 1915 her father, living in Mackay, joined the Australian army. Later he became a waterside worker in Townsville.
  • From about 1925 she and Sid Kear lived in Townsville, North Queensland. Sid became an active executive member of the Seamens’ Union. During the 1930s Depression Annie cooked at home for the unemployed.
  • Joined Communist Party of Australia and Tribune recorded that she “visited the Soviet Union on a number of occasions and was inspired by what she saw there”.
  • From 1960 to 1975 was secretary of the Women's Committee of the Brisbane Seamen's Union.
  • Active in the Union of Australian Women.
  • After World War II Kear went to England, where he died in 1976. Annie formed a relationship with Paddy Brownrigg and they lived in Ithaca, Brisbane.
  • Foundation member of the Socialist Party of Australia [1971?] but retained her numerous CPA friends.
  • She and Paddy died together in a car accident.
  • Sons William Walter Kear (1926-2013) and Ernest John Kear also became seamen and members of the CPA.

Seamen's Journal
, December 1975, January 1976.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Brownrigg, Annie Katherine (1904–1975)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 24 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • McPhie, Annie Katherine
  • Kear, Annie Katherine

13 May, 1904
Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland


5 December, 1975 (aged 71)
Caboolture, Queensland, Australia

Cause of Death

motor vehicle accident

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