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John (Johnny) Conway (1896–1960)

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John (Johnny) Conway (1896-1960) miner, Socialist activist 

Birth: 1896 at Auchterderran, Fife, Scotland, son of John Conway, miner, and Bridget, née Conway. Marriage: 24 January 1925 at Kurri Kurri, New South Wales, to native-born Bertha Elizabeth Crowley (1905-1982). They had two daughters and one son. Death: 26 December 1960 at Kurri Kurri, NSW. Religion: Anglican.

  • Served in WW I with Royal Army Medical Corps; was badly gassed. Coal miner, Lochgelly, Fifeshire. After defeat of miners’ strike, 1921, migrated to Australia in 1922 seeking better climate for recuperation from war injuries.
  • First worked at Wonthaggi, Victoria, then went to Richmond Main Colliery in Hunter Valley, NSW. Capable speaker at lodge meetings. Socialist who supported ‘Bondy’ Hoare and Socialist Labor Party position. Also connected to Communist Party of Australia (CPA) and Militant Minority Movement, selling literature. Active during 1929 lock-out and organised first branch of Workers’ District Committee among ex-servicemen.
  • 1930 executive officer of CPA, Kurri and following sacking, was secretary of Unemployed Workers’ Movement, Kurri.
  • About 1932 worked at Richmond Main, supporting Orr/Nelson leadership of Miners’ Federation, but critical of aspects of the CPA’s ‘Third Period’ line.
  • Active in returned soldiers’ affairs and Kurri Returned Services League branch supported him through Cold War smearing.
  • Cause of death: coronary occlusion.

Common Cause
, 21 January 1961.

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Citation details

'Conway, John (Johnny) (1896–1960)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Auchterderran, Fife, Scotland


26 December, 1960 (aged ~ 64)
Kurri Kurri, New South Wales, 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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism