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Francis Harold (Hal) Devanny (1888–1966)

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Francis Harold (Hal) Devanny (1888-1966) coal miner, gaoled publisher and Communist activist 

Birth: 8 September 1888 at Napier, New Zealand, son of William Devanny (1856-1912), mental hospital attendant, and Mary Ann Teresa, née Kavanagh (1864-1956). Both parents were born in New Zealand. Marriage: reputedly in 1911 but actually on 9 January 1925 in the registrar’s office at Palmerston, New Zealand, to Jane (Jean) Crook (1894-1962), an author and fellow Marxist. They had two daughters and a son. Death: 7 August 1966 at Charters Towers, Queensland. [D/c 1966 C/4156] 

  • In New Zealand worked as a coal miner then as a salesman.
  • Joined Communist Party of Australia (CPA) upon arrival in Sydney from New Zealand in 1929. In 1930-1931 was working as a drainer and living at Darlinghurst, Sydney.
  • Publisher of Workers’ Weekly, for which he was sentenced to six months gaol in 1932. The conviction was quashed on appeal to the High Court.
  • In 1935 was CPA candidate for Waverley in election for State parliament.
  • Moved to Queensland and in 1954 was a mill hand at Townsville, Queensland.

Jean Devanny, Point of departure; the autobiography of Jean Devanny (St Lucia, 1986); Stuart Macintyre, The Reds: The Communist Party of Australia from origins to illegality (Sydney, 1998).

Citation details

'Devanny, Francis Harold (Hal) (1888–1966)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


8 September, 1888
Napier, New Zealand


7 August, 1966 (aged 77)
Charters Towers, Queensland, Australia

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