People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Stanley Clarence (Stan) Deacon (1906–1993)

by Vera Deacon

This article was published:

Stanley Clarence Thomas (Stan) Deacon (1906-1993) labourer, bus conductor and Communist party organiser

Birth: 30 March 1906 at Marylebone, London, England, one of ten children of Sidney George Deacon (1881-1956), house-painter, later WWI veteran, and Rosina Evelin, née Whittaker (b. 1885) housekeeper. Marriage: May 1946 to Vera Frances Pember (1926-2021). They had two daughters. Death: 5 October 1993 in Sydney, New South Wales. 

  • Emigrated to Australia in May 1924. Worked on dairy, pig and wheat farms, timber-getting, fencing and droving, camel teamster, dingo-trapper. ‘Outback Australia became his university’.
  • Unemployed during Depression. Cycled across Victoria to Mildura, becoming involved with fruit pickers’ struggles. Worked with Murrumbidgee Irrigation Scheme, leading landmark Wakool 1935-36 strike re conditions of unemployed workers.
  • Joined Communist Party of Australia in 1932. Organiser, Bathurst-Lithgow and later Hurstville. 1940 speaking tour with Adam Ogston disrupted by anti-communists.
  • Moved to Newcastle where he became Secretary of Newcastle Legal Rights Committee. Later was Secretary, CPA, delivering radio broadcasts over 2KO. Part-time organiser for Hotel, Club and Restaurant Employees’ Union. Secretary of Newcastle THC Tenant’s Protection Committee, active in anti-eviction struggles. Member of CPA Central Committee. CPA candidate in Federal elections for seat of Newcastle in August 1943 and September 1946, for the State seat of Waratah in May 1944 and for North Ward in the Greater Newcastle city Council in November 1944.
  • Closely watched by ASIO. Regarded as ‘mystery man’ by intelligence services and gathered intelligence about right-wing New Guard style threats to democracy, particularly in rural New South Wales.
  • 1948 ceased work as CPA secretary as he wished to return to industry, ‘to refresh himself amongst the workers’. Blacklisted in Newcastle, he took work in Sydney with NSW Government Buses. Sought to reform Bus and Tramway Union and became the union’s honorary executive officer at North Sydney and Willoughby Depots. Later was elected federal vice-president of the union’s federal council. Edited work-place bulletin, The Voice of Unity.
  • Medically retired from buses for political reasons, successfully fighting for reinstatement and compensation.
  • Prominently involved in peace movements and local community campaigns, especially re public transport in lower North Shore of Sydney.
  • Retired in 1971 though worked for six years as bus driver for Sunnyfield Association for Handicapped Children. After illness he returned as honorary gardener at Sunnyfield. Widely read and loved film, plays, ballet, opera and musical comedy.
  • Pamphlets included Smoke Gets in your Eyes (re pollution in Newcastle, 1947) and Oh! What a Tangled Webb We Weave (for union democracy, against life-long appointments.)

Common Cause
, 7 August 1943, 3 May 1947; Tribune (Sydney), photos and profiles, 4 May 1944, p 6, 15 February 1946, p 8, and 27 September 1947, p 6; Len Fox, Australians on the Left (Potts Point, 1996).

Additional Resources

  • photo, Workers' Weekly (Sydney), 29 November 1938, p 1
  • profile, Tribune (Sydney), 4 May 1944, p 6
  • profile, Tribune (Sydney), 15 February 1946, p 8
  • photo, Tribune (Sydney), 24 January 1947, p 6
  • interview, Tribune (Sydney), 5 November 1980, p 11
  • ASIO file, vol 1, A6119, 624 (National Archives of Australia)
  • ASIO file, vol 2, A6119, 5578 (National Archives of Australia)

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Vera Deacon, 'Deacon, Stanley Clarence (Stan) (1906–1993)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 28 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Stanley Deacon, 1962

Stanley Deacon, 1962

Tribune (Sydney), 5 November 1980, p 11

Life Summary [details]


30 October, 1906
London, Middlesex, England


5 October, 1993 (aged 86)
Sydney, 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.

Passenger Ship
Key Organisations
Political Activism