People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Harold William Holowell (1923–2022)

This article was published:

Harold Holowell, 1942

Harold Holowell, 1942

from WWII army service file

Harold William Holowell (1923-2002) munitions worker and trade union official

Birth: 26 May 1923 at North Melbourne, Victoria, son of native-born parents William Harold John Holowell (1890-1959), boxmaker, and Mary Ann, née Reilly (1900-1996). Marriage: 1945 in Victoria to Jean Laura Swinton (1922-1996). Death: 27 August 2002 at Victoria. Religion: Catholic. 

  • His father served in the first Australian Imperial Force in World War I.
  • Harold worked at the Commonwealth Government Explosive Factory, Maribyrnong, Victoria. Joined the Maritime Workers’ Union in 1938.
  • Enlisted for part time service in the Australian Citizen Military Force on 22 December 1941 and for full time service on 27 October 1942. Served in New Guinea and New Britain. Transferred to the second Australian Imperial Force on 13 April 1945. Discharged on 15 June 1946.
  • Returned to the Explosive Factory 1946. Joined anti-armament push. Active in 1952 to overthrow Communist Party of Australia leadership.
  • Member of the committee of management of Federated Ironworkers’ Association (FIA) in 1955. Delegate to national conference FIA; vice-president, FIA 1958; national president, FIA. President of the Victoria branch in 1962. National councillor of FIA for ten years; national trustee for six years. Secretary of the Victorian branch in 1981 on death of Joe Reed and was elected to the position in 1982.
  • Appointed AM for service to the trade union movement on 26 January 1990.

Labor News
, May-July 1985.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Holowell, Harold William (1923–2022)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Harold Holowell, 1942

Harold Holowell, 1942

from WWII army service file

Life Summary [details]


26 May, 1923
North Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


27 August, 2022 (aged 99)
Victoria, Australia

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.

Military Service
Key Organisations