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George Aubrey Gibbs (1909–1969)

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George Aubrey Gibbs (sometimes Aubrey George Gibbs) (1900-1969) waterside worker, activist, Aboriginal rights worker and Communist. 

Birth: 17 September 1909 at Lowood, Queensland, son of native-born parents George Gibbs (1880-1956), carpenter, later bridge builder, and Bridget Theresa Winifred, née Laughren (1881-1974). Marriage: 1951 at Darwin, Northern Territory, to Moira Olive (1924-1983), Communist Party of Australia activist/Aboriginal rights worker. They had one son. Death: 5 September 1969 at Darwin, Northern Territory (NT). 

  • First came to NT in the 1930s.
  • Foundation member of Workers’ Club, Darwin, 1946.
  • Appointed as North Australian Workers’ Union organiser to Central Australia, 1949.
  • Attended special Australian Council of Trade Unions congress to discuss Commonwealth government’s ant-Communist legislation and basic wage, 1950.
  • Active in movement for Aboriginal rights since 1950s; closely associated with Gurindji peoples’ struggle for land rights, Wattie Creek, 1960s. Frank Hardy described him as ‘domineering’.
  • Communist Party of Australia member. President of waterside section of North Australian Workers’ Union. Public officer, Northern Territory Council of Aboriginal Rights.
  • Cause of death: congestive heart failure, ischemic heart disease and diabetes mellitus. 
  • Collections of his papers relating to Northern Territory Aboriginal rights held at Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and State Library of New South Wales.

Bernard Norman Brian, ‘The Northern Territory’s One Big Union: The Rise and Fall of the North Australian Workers’ Union 1911-1972’, PhD thesis, Northern Territory University, 2001; Canberra Times, 1 June 1951, p 4:

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'Gibbs, George Aubrey (1909–1969)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 30 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012