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John Brian (Johnnie) Healy (1922–1988)

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John Brian (Johnnie) Healy (1922-1988) seaman, wharf labourer, Communist and trade union official 

Birth: 5 January 1922 at Manchester, Lancashire, England, son of James (Big Jim) Healy (1898-1961), wharf labourer and trade union leader, born at Manchester, England, and Elizabeth (Betty), née McGowan (1900-1972), a woollen weaver. Marriage: 1945 in Sydney, New South Wales, to Margaret (Peg) Morrison. They had two daughters. Death: 9 March 1988 in hospital at Camperdown, Sydney: usual residence Rosalind street, Crows Nest. 

  • Family emigrated to Queensland aboard the Sophocles in November 1925. He grew up in Mackay until about 1935 and moved to Sydney c.1935-37 and Melbourne 1937.
  • Gained worked as a seaman about 1937. Undertook maritime work in 1948; Joined Waterside Workers’ Federation (WWF) in 1948. One of the foundation members of the Sydney Job Delegates’ Association in the 1940s.
  • Branch president of the WWF in 1973.
  • Member of the Seamen’s Union of Australia from 1938 to 1948. Delegate, All Ports Conference, from 1958 to 1967. Federal councillor 1973 to 1982.
  • Made life member of the WWF in 1982. Retired due to ill health 1982.
  • Joined Communist Party of Australia in late 1940s. Supporter of the Soviet Union and a critic of Stalinism.
  • Contributor to Tribune newspaper. Wife Peggy Healy secretary of the WWF Women’s Committee in 1952.
  • Cause of death: recurrent laryngeal cancer.

Seamen’s Journal
, March 1988; Maritime Worker, August 1982, p 9, April 1988 p 24; Tribune (Sydney), 16 March 1988.

Additional Resources

  • tribute, Tribune (Sydney), 21 July 1982, p 5

Citation details

'Healy, John Brian (Johnnie) (1922–1988)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


5 January, 1922
Manchester, Greater Manchester, England


9 March, 1988 (aged 66)
Camperdown, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (larynx)

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.

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