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Walter (Watty) Doig (1900–1987)

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Walter (‘Watty’) Doig (1900-1987), coalminer, and Communist activist 

Birth: 18 October 1900 in Slamannan, County of Stirling, Scotland, son of Walter Doig, master painter, and Susan, née Hale. Marriage: 1 September 1928 in South Richmond, Victoria, with Presbyterian forms, to Agnes McIlwain Smith. They had three sons and three daughters. Death: 15 July 1987 at Wonthaggi, Victoria. 

  • Was a coalminer in Scotland and involved in struggles during and immediately after First World War. Widely read and ‘truly a working class intellectual’.
  • Left Scotland for Australia in 1927. Worked in few small Victorian gold mines and as labourer, intending to return to Scotland. Arrival of Agnes Smith from Scotland preempted this plan.
  • Watty and Agnes were inseparable for 60 years, largely associated with Wonthaggi, Victoria, and ultimately with Agnes was subject of film Strikebound.
  • Communist Party of Australia member and organiser, coal miner and militant unionist but never sought union or political leadership positions. ‘Watty’s greatest skill was in inducing self-confidence in his fellow workers and comrades’.
  • Cause of death cardiac arrest, having suffered hypertension and cardiac failure for years.

, 22 July 1987; Common Cause, 12 August 1987; information from E. Ross, 1990.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Doig, Walter (Watty) (1900–1987)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


18 October, 1900
Slamannan, Stirlingshire, Scotland


15 July, 1987 (aged 86)
Wonthaggi, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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