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.

John Hodge (Jock) King (1909–1977)

This article was published:

John Hodge (Jock) King (1909-1977) coalminer, Communist and gaoled trade union official

Birth: 8 May 1909 at Beath, Fifeshire, Scotland, son of John Hodge King (1872-1943), coalminer, and Euphemia Swan, née Milne (1874-1950). Marriage: 1934 at Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales, to Helen Eadie Erskine (c.1910-1950). They had one daughter. Death: 7 July 1977 in hospital at Lithgow, NSW; usual residence Evelyn Street, Lithgow. 

  • Worked as a coalminer in Scotland in 1923. Emigrated to Australia in 1925, departing London with his father aboard the Esperance Bay on 12 May 1925. The rest of his family arrived in 1926. Jock was a coalminer, northern coalfields, NSW.
  • Moved to the Lithgow district. Was a coalminer at Western District coal mines including Oakey Park, Ivanhoe and Steelworks mines. Joined the Communist Party of Australia.
  • Vice-president, Western District, Australasian Coal and Shale Employees' Federation for two years, then secretary from 1946 until he retired in 1969.
  • During the 1949 coal strike King was charged, along with other Federation officials, with contempt of court and sentenced to a month's imprisonment for refusing to give information on whereabouts of district funds, then brought before court again in handcuffs and sentenced to a further 12 months' imprisonment. Spent seven weeks in gaol before his release.
  • Was a Communist alderman on Lithgow City Council for ten years. As CPA candidate he contested State election against Hamilton Knight in 1947, federal seat of Macquarie held by Chifley in 1949; and Macquarie again in 1954.
  • Committee member of Lithgow Workmen’s Club, from 1962 to 1969, including president and treasurer.
  • Cause of death: cancer of lung.

Edgar Ross, A history of the Miners' Federation of Australia ([Sydney] 1970); Pete Thomas, Miners in the 1970s: a narrative history of the Miners’ Federation (Sydney [1983]); information supplied by E. Ross, 1990; John Playford Doctrinal and strategic problems of the Communist Party of Australia, 1945-1962, PhD thesis, ANU, p 424; Common Cause, 10 October 1949 p 8, 17 May 1969, 19 January 1976 p 5, 3 December 1976 p 3.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'King, John Hodge (Jock) (1909–1977)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 28 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


8 May, 1909
Beath, Fife, Scotland


7 July, 1977 (aged 68)
Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (lung)

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 Events
Key Organisations
Political Activism