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Lloyd Gordon Churchward (1919–1998)

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Lloyd Gordon Churchward (1919-1998) political scientist, Communist and Labor historian 

Birth: 18 October 1919, at Westbury, Tasmania, son of English-born parents, Reverend Spencer Churchward, Methodist minister, and Caroline Gilbert, née Mather, who both came from families from Devon and Cornwall. Marriage: 24 May 1958 in Victoria to Frances Mary Radden. They had three daughters and one son. Death: 20 February 1998 in Victoria.

  • Childhood spent where his father served as minister — in Westbury, Penguin and Avoca in Tasmania, and St Arnaud, Brighton and Carnegie in Victoria.
  • Educated at Melbourne High School and the University of Melbourne (BA, 1939, MA, 1941). Initial political influence his uncle Dr C. M. Churchward, ‘red parson’ of Tempe, expert in Aboriginal dialects.
  • Joined Melbourne University Labour Club in 1938.
  • A fruit picker in rural Victoria late in the 1930s, reading Communist Manifesto on ‘upturned fruit case in a Tatura orchard’. Joined ALP, South Carlton, 1941.
  • Rejected for military service when he was diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Secured employment at Knox Grammar School on Sydney’s North Shore, joining the State Labor Party after talking to Bert Chandler. 1943 member of party executive. Joined Communist Party of Australia following amalgamation with State Labor.
  • In 1944 approached to be full-time CPA functionary, but took up academic position as temporary lecturer at Melbourne University where later became a senior lecturer and reader.
  • Pioneer of Labour History society in Melbourne as well as academic study of working-class history generally. Best known as scholar of Soviet politics. Aware of depredations of Stalinism but remained member of CPA until its demise.

Labour History, 74, May 1998, pp 196-197 9 (obituary), and 77, November 1999, pp 27-43; Recorder (Melbourne), No. 64, June 1973, and obituary in No. 208, April 1998, pp 5-7; John Playford, Doctrinal and strategic problems of the Communist Party of Australia, 1945-1962, PhD thesis, ANU, 1962.

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'Churchward, Lloyd Gordon (1919–1998)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


18 October, 1919
Westbury, Tasmania, Australia


20 February, 1998 (aged 78)
Victoria, Australia

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.

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.

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