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Henry (Harry) Hatfield (1910–1988)

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Henry (Harry) Hatfield (1910-1988) sheet metal worker and trade union official 

Birth: 20 September 1910 at Sowe Waste, Coventry, Warwickshire, England, youngest of twelve children of Thomas Hatfield (1856-1918), coal miner, and his second wife Sarah Ann, née Simpson (1873-1910. Marriages: (1) 23 December 1935 at St Luke’s Anglican Church, Liverpool, New South Wales to Alice Florence Wright (1907-1976). They had one daughter. The marriage ended in divorce. (2) 2 July 1966 at the Registrar General’s Office, Sydney, NSW, to Mary, née Wilson, late Rafferty (1918-2008), a divorcée, born at Coatbridge, Scotland. Death: 5 August 1988 in hospital at Oatley, NSW; usual residence Princes street, Mortdale. 

  • His mother died a few hours after his birth and his father when Henry was 7 years old.
  • He arrived in Australia about 1929. Went to the Monaro region in New South Wales and was a timber cutter. As many of his fellow workers were Yugoslavs, he picked up the basics of Serbo-Croation.
  • Moved near Georges River, Sydney, and worked in vineyards. Trained as a sheet metal worker. Participated in dispute at Malleys, Alexandria, to assist women to gain equal pay with men, where they were earning 90 percent of the male wage, about 1939-1940.
  • Member of the Communist Party of Australia. In 1950 became full-time organiser of the Sydney district and later became its Secretary. Member of the Central Committee of the CPA. Communist candidate for Federal seats of Cook in May 1954, Watson in November 1963, Banks in November 1966 and the Australian Senate in November 1967, and for the State seat of Redfern in March 1952.
  • President of the Sheetmetal Workers Union (SMWU), NSW branch, from 1945 to 1950. NSW Labor Council delegate 1948-1950? and 1961-69.
  • Returned to metalworking industry at Eveleigh Loco, Sydney, and participated in the shop committee which was declining in strength at the time. Vice-president of the NSW branch of of the SMWU 1961-1962.
  • SMWU delegate to Australian Peace Congress 1964. SMWU delegate to Combined Rail and Transport Unions Committee of the Labour Council from 1965 to 1969. Organiser, Sheet Metal Workers Union from 1963 to 1972 and remained organiser of the AMWU until his retirement in 1977 (Union amalgamated with the AEU to form the Amalgamated Metalworkers in 1971).
  • Active in the AMWU Retired Members Association and participated in developing links with Yugoslavian workers. Spent three months working in Yugoslavia. Became fluent in Serbo-Croatian.
  • An avid supporter of the St George Rugby League football team.
  • Cause of death: cardiac arrest, congestive cardiac failure and ischaemic heart disease.

, 10 August 1988 p 11; Metal Worker, September 1988; correspondence with Audrey Johnson, 10 July 1990.

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Citation details

'Hatfield, Henry (Harry) (1910–1988)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Harry Hatfield

Harry Hatfield

Tribune (Sydney), 30 November 1955, p 3

Life Summary [details]


20 September, 1910
Coventry, Warwickshire, England


5 August, 1988 (aged 77)
Oatley, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Cultural Heritage

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