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Thomas (Tom) Hills (1904–1995)

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Thomas (Tom) Hills (1904-1995) dock labourer, trade union official and Communist

Birth:  26 February 1904 at North Sydney, New South Wales, son of Albert Hills, seaman, and Emily Pearce. Marriage: 3 July 1926 at the District Registrar’s office, Melbourne, Victoria, to native-born Dorothy Marie (Dot) Cobon (1901-1978), wards maid. Death: 12 May 1995 at Port Melbourne, Victoria.

  • Ran away from home in 1917. Was a waterside worker in the 1920s.
  • Leader of the Port Melbourne Unemployed Workers Movement in the 1930s and campaigned for regular weekly food orders for the unemployed, joined in anti-eviction struggles, organised assistance with funeral for the unemployed, deserted wives and children, entertainment, clothing and housing.
  • In 1937 stood as a Communist Party candidate for Port Melbourne Council.
  • Gained casual work on wharves about 1937 and gained full-time work during World War II.
  • Union activist and union delegate for Waterside Workers’ Federation (WWF). Vice-President, WWF, Melbourne branch, in 1955. President of local Retired Waterside Workers’ Association from 1971 to 1995.
  • Founding and long-serving member of both South-Port Community Health Centre and Port Melbourne Library Advisory committees.
  • Citizen of the Year, Port Melbourne, 1984.
  • Was a pensioner at his death.
  • The Tom Hills Memorial Prize for Oral History established in June 1995.

The Australian
, 10 July 1995 p 13.

Citation details

'Hills, Thomas (Tom) (1904–1995)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 May 2024.

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