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Ronald Edward Gray (1925–2004)

by Allison Murchie

This article was published:

Ronald Gray, n.d.

Ronald Gray, n.d.

Ronald Edward Gray (1925-2004) fitter, safety officer, peace activist

Birth: 9 February 1925 at Glasgow, Scotland, son of Edward Stevenson Gray, born at Gateshead, England, manager at British Homes Stores, and Emma, née Ronald. Marriage: 23 December 1954 at the Church of England parish church at Amesbury, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, to Evelyn Mary Heron (1919-1982). Death: 13 August 2004 at Adelaide, South Australia. 

  • Educated at Cherry Grove, Manchester, Hambridge Primary School, Chester City County Grammar School, Heaton Secondary at Newcastle. Apprenticed at Rolls Royce and joined the Amalgamated Engineering Union (United Kingdom) – beginning of political life, smuggled the Communist Party paper the Daily Worker, which was illegal, into work.
  • Joined the Royal Air Force as a storeman and later as an aircraft fitter. After three years went to Egypt, then Malta at the time Palestine was being partitioned.
  • Came to Australia in 1963 and worked at Leigh Creek, SA, as a fitter; was appalled at treatment of Aborigines and the apartheid practiced there. In 1966 he worked at Osbourne and called the first work stoppage in Australia over asbestos issue; known as “Ron the Red,” he became convener of shop stewards, chair of Osbourne shop stewards, State president of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, senior vice president of Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union.
  • 1974 became the Safety Officer for Electricity Trust of South Australia. Went to the World Peace Conference in Moscow in 1973 as a SA representative for Metal Workers.
  • In 1966 he joined the Association for International Cooperation and Disarmament. This became the Peace Committee about 1979.
  • On State Committee for Municipal Officers Association.
  • Campaigns he was actively involved in with the APC and led the organisation of conversion of military industry, Anti –bases with organising and attending 2 demonstrations at Pine Gap, Hiroshima Day, Palm Sunday, No War, many Aboriginal issues, Fair go for David, Japanese Peace movement, all nuclear issues.
  • Member of Socialist Party of Australia and Communist Party of Australia.

Citation details

Allison Murchie, 'Gray, Ronald Edward (1925–2004)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Ronald Gray, n.d.

Ronald Gray, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


9 February, 1925
Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland


13 August, 2004 (aged 79)
Adelaide, South Australia, 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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism