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.

Carl King (1907–1987)

This article was published:

Carl (Carrol) King, also known as Carl Oscar Andersson or Anderson (1907-1987) waterside worker and Communist 

Birth: reputedly 1907 at Little Hampton, Suffolk, England, son of an English mother Elizabeth, née Shewrey, and a Swedish father Jons Emil Andersson, who was a horticulturist (1875-1933). Marriages: (1) details unknown to ‘Chick’ (d.1946). (2) [registered as Carl Oscar Andersson] 1947 at Granville, Sydney to Myrtle Anne King (1902-2001). Death: [registered as Carrol King, known as Carl Anderson] 11 August 1987 in hospital at Kogarah, Sydney, NSW; usual residence Inelgah Road, Como. 

  • His mother died of consumption when he was aged 5 and his father, a naturalised British subject aged 40, remarried a 20-year old. The family migrated to Australia about 1914 and lived in Melbourne, where his father was a bowling-green keeper at Middle Park then moved to Ivanhoe.
  • Carl left school at the age of 13, worked for the Victorian Wheat Commission for 15 months than as a “peggy” on a coastal ship. He then “went bush” and took various jobs, spending some time as a blacksmith’s striker at Buckra and working at Mildura where he joined the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU).
  • Moved to North Queensland about 1928. He was a mill hand at Mourilyan sugar mill and became involved in the struggles of cane cutters, in particular against Weils disease caught from vermin that lived among the cane. Joined the Communist Party of Australia (CPA).
  • Dismissed from the mill and expelled from the AWU for supporting an unauthorised strike, he moved to Mackay in 1936 to work as a wharf labourer, joined the Waterside Workers’ Federation (WWF) and befriended Jim Healy.
  • Transferred to Sydney branch WWF in 1938. Began paid employment with the CPA and became a tutor at Marx House. Reconnected with Healy and got on well with Lance Sharkey and J. B. Miles.
  • Editor of ‘The Wharfie’. Involved in struggles to have the gang rotary system introduced in 1943, which helped to consolidate good working conditions for wharfies.
  • In 1948 he was sent to Orange, NSW, by the CPA and became a spray painter at Emmco factory. Joined the Australasian Society of Engineers and became branch president. Sacked and persecuted for his CPA links, he joined the Sheet Metal Workers Union.
  • In 1950 King returned to Sydney and to work on the Sydney waterfront and left the CPA. He later joined the Socialist Party of Australia. Retired as a wharfie in 1972.
  • Became active in the retired member association of the WWF as secretary of the Sydney branch, holding the position until his death.
  • In his prime a big man, he was over six feet (183 cm) tall and weighed 15 stone (95 kg). Cause of death: sepsis, acute leukaemia and refractory anaemia.

Dianne Menghetti, The Red North: the popular front in North Queensland (Townsville, 1981); Maritime Worker, November 1987 p 29; Mona Frame, Wherever the Struggle: The Story of Carl King, Sydney Labour History Monograph Series, No. 3.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'King, Carl (1907–1987)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • King, Carrol
  • Andersson, Carl Oscar
  • Anderson, Carl Oscar

Little Hampton, Suffolk, England


11 August, 1987 (aged ~ 80)
Kogarah, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (leukemia)

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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism