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Agnes McIlwain Doig (1906–1992)

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Agnes McIlwain Doig, née Smith (1906-1992) domestic help, coal miner’s wife, Communist and community activist 

Birth: 13 April 1906 in Shotts, North Lanarkshire, Scotland, daughter of Thomas Smith, mining contractor, and Agnes, née McIlwain. Marriage: September 1928 with Presbyterian forms, in South Richmond, Victoria, to Walter ‘Wattie’ Doig, coal miner. They had three sons and three daughters. Death: 25 November 1992 at Wonthaggi, Victoria. 

  • Met Walter ‘Wattie” Doig about 1926 when he came to work for her father at Shotts. They became engaged. She followed him to Australia.
  • Occupation “domestic help” at her marriage in 1928.
  • First secretary of coal miners' auxilary, Korumburra, 1935. From 1942 secretary of coal miner's auxilary at Wonthaggi.
  • With husband, prominent Communist Party of Australia activist in the 'Red Wonthaggi' community and industrial affairs, especially during strikes.
  • Life governor Wonthaggi Hospital. Energetic in Peace Committee, Home Help Committee, School Committee, Mothers’ Club, Workers' Club Auxiliary.
  • She and Wattie were the subjects of Richard Lowenstein’s 1984 dramatised film Strikebound.

Common Cause
, 1 February 1958; Wendy Lowenstein, Weevils in the flour: an oral record of the 1930s Depression in Australia (South Yarra, 1978).

Citation details

'Doig, Agnes McIlwain (1906–1992)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 16 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Agnes Doig, 1960

Agnes Doig, 1960

University of Melbourne Archives, 11343/75659

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Smith, Agnes McIlwain

13 April, 1906
Shotts, Lanarkshire, Scotland


25 November, 1992 (aged 86)
Wonthaggi, 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.

Political Activism