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Kevin Martin Healy (1909–2000)

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Kevin Healy, 1942

Kevin Healy, 1942

Kevin Martin Healy (1909-2000) ironworker, gaoled Communist party official 

Birth: 30 September 1909 at Fremantle, Western Australia, son of James Joseph Healy (1870-1958), clothier, born in County Clare, Ireland, and native-born Rose, née Stokes (1878-1961). Marriages: (1) 25 October 1940 at Perth, WA, to native-born Leah Marks, who became State secretary, of the Communist Party of Australia. They had one child. The marriage ended in divorce. (2) 24 March 1956 in the Registrar General’s Office, Sydney, New South Wales, to native-born divorcée Edna Joyce, née Richardson, late Egan (b. 1921), clerk. Death: 10 January 2000 in Sydney. Religion: Atheist. 

  • When he was a child his devout Catholic parents took the family to Ireland. In 1911 they were living with Kevin’s grandmother at Ballynagun West, Drumellihy, in County Clare. Three of his brothers became active in the Irish Republican movement. He was educated by the Christian Brothers then at Irish charity schools. The family had all returned to Western Australia by 1928.
  • Kevin prospected in Coolgardie then worked as a shed hand in Carnarvon, where he was involved in the strike of 1930. He was subsequently blackballed by station owners. In 1934 he joined the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) and travelled to its new training school in Sydney, NSW, for hand-picked party members.
  • Worked in mines, surface and underground, Coolgardie, in 1937 and “Golden Mile’.
  • Secretary, Australian Workers’ Union, Coolgardie section. Chairman, Western Australian State Committee. Joined a Henry George body, the Liberation League, dabbled in Douglas Social Credit.
  • Acting secretary of the CPA in WA 1940. Gave his occupation as “salesman” on his marriage certificate that year, where a witness was Katharine Susannah Throssell, née Prichard.
  • Arrested under National Security Regulation in 1940, when Communist Party was officially banned. Gaoled for possession of a document called ‘Spark’, a party newsletter, and served three months gaol.
  • Described himself as a labourer when called up for fill time service in the Citizens Military Force on 12 February 1942. Transferred to the Australian Imperial Force on 20 August 1942. Spent most of his military service in the 7th Heavy Artillery at Swanbourne Fort, WA. Discharged in Sydney, New South Wales on 26 November 1945.
  • Was chairman of the WA CPA in 1949 when he was arrested and tried for breach of section 24A of the Crimes Act for making a seditious statement. He defended himself and was acquitted by the local jury.
  • In 1951 he moved to Sydney, New South Wales, where he worked at Mort’s Dock as an ironworker. Remained a trade union member until he retired in 1970. Supported the dissolution of the CPA in March 1991 and joined the Progressive Labour Party.
  • An active supporter of indigenous rights, he founded the Ryde Aboriginal Interest Group in 1992.

Sources
John Playford, Doctrinal and strategic problems of the Communist Party of Australia, 1945-1962, PhD Thesis, ANU, 1962, p.422; interview J. Williams; Workers’ Star, 29 April 1949, p 8, 6 May 1949, 11 November 1949; Birth Certificate, Fremantle 609/1909; Rowan Cahill, ‘Kevin Healy (1909-2000): “Dear Mum and Dad”’, Labour History, No. 79, November (2000), pp 189-192; papers held at State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 6918.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Healy, Kevin Martin (1909–2000)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/healy-kevin-martin-34140/text42823, accessed 21 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Kevin Healy, 1942

Kevin Healy, 1942

Life Summary [details]

Birth

30 September, 1909
Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia

Death

10 January, 2000 (aged 90)
Sydney, New South Wales, 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.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Occupation
Military Service
Key Organisations
Key Places
Political Activism