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Michael (Mick) Healy (1904–1988)

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Michael (Mick) Healy, né Francis McCracken (1904-1988) waterside worker, bookshop proprietor and gaoled Communist 

Birth: 29 September 1904 at Belfast, Northern Ireland, son of Alexander McCracken, shipping clerk, and Lizzie, née McPeake. Marriage: (1) [as Francis McCracken] 26 June 1935 at the General Registry Office, Brisbane, Queensland, to Ellen Catherine Surplus (1901-1942), who had also been born at Belfast. They had one son. (2) [as Michael Healy] 5 October 1945 at Brisbane to Constance (Connie) de Mestre. They had one son and one daughter. Death: 28 November 1988. 

  • Emigrated to Christchurch, New Zealand in 1926. Moved to Australia in 1931 and soon moved to Queensland.
  • Joined Communist Party of Australia (CPA) in 1933. Was unemployed and participated in the Unemployed Workers Union, c.1934-1935.
  • Opened Anvil Bookshop, South Brisbane, in 1935 and initiated the Left Book Club, Brisbane. Anvil Bookshop closed when CPA was banned in 1940.
  • Worked on wharves and joined the Waterside Workers’ Federation (WWF) in 1940. Organised Soviet Aid Congress and Patriotic Fund of the Queensland Trades and Labor Council, 1940.
  • Changed his name from Francis McCracken to Michael Healy by deed poll in March 1945.
  • Delegate, Queensland Trades and Labor Council. Secretary of the Queensland Trades and Labor Council from 1942 to 1952.
  • Organised boycott of Dutch ships in Brisbane in support of the Indonesian people’s struggle for national independence to become a republic 1946.
  • Jailed for three months for not paying fines for participating in an illegal march in support of a nine-week, railway workers strike in Queensland in 1948 in which the Labor Council assisted the Disputes Committee to direct the strike; fines were paid anonymously after 15 days for those jailed.
  • Returned to working on the wharves 1952-70. Job delegate and on executive WWF. Retired in 1970.
  • Cause of death: myocardial infarction.

Westralian Worker, 6 December 1946 p 2; John Playford, Doctrinal and strategic problems of the Communist Party of Australia, 1945-1962, PhD thesis, ANU, 1962, p 422; Tribune (Sydney), 1 February 1989, p 11; Maritime Worker, January-February 1989, p 27, Railway Advocate, November 1988, p 5; Sixty Years of Struggle, Volume 2.

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Citation details

'Healy, Michael (Mick) (1904–1988)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 31 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Michael Healy, 1948

Michael Healy, 1948

Tribune (Sydney), 21 August 1948, p 1

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • McCracken, Francis

29 September, 1904
Belfast, Antrim, Ireland


28 November, 1988 (aged 84)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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