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Sydney Albert Gerson (1895–1974)

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Sydney Albert Gerson (1895-1974) labour journalist, editor and Socialist 

Birth: 1895 at Geelong, Victoria, son of native-born parents Sydney Jacob Gerson (1864-1935), traveller, and Annie Lucy, née Harding (1868-1926), teacher of music. Marriage: 1921 at Geelong, to native-born Eileen Amy Chambers (1898-1969), daughter of pioneer labour family. They had one daughter. Death: 11 August 1974 at Geelong. 

  • Before World War I he formed a number of working-class organisations and launched Distributing Trades Journal for Geelong branch of Clerks’ Union.
  • Prominent anti-conscriptionist and pacifist during WW I. Refused to play, ‘God Save the King’ at anti-conscription rally, 1916. The incident was attacked by Geelong Advertiser as ‘The Gerson Disloyalty’. Episode convinced him of need for labour newspaper in Geelong.
  • In 1919 launched the lively and erudite The Industrial Herald, for forty years journal of Geelong Trades Hall Council (THC). Successful Australian Labor Party campaign manager for Arthur Lewis in Corio in 1929. Honorary Secretary of Geelong THC in 1931.
  • Contested seat of Barwon in the Victorian parliament for Labor in 1935.
  • Ran job agency for young women and raised funds for unemployed during Great Depression.
  • Life long Socialist.
  • Cause of death: renal failure and prostatomegaly (benign).

Brian McKinley, ‘Albert Gerson: a note on a labour movement pioneer’, Labour History, 30, May 1976; Brian McKinley, ‘Albert Gerson’, Recorder, 249, March 2006, p 5.

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'Gerson, Sydney Albert (1895–1974)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 April 2024.

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