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Thomas Claudius (Tony) McGillick (1901–1990)

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McGillick, Thomas Claudius (Tony) (1901-1990) clerk, trade union official, woolclasser and political activist

Birth: 17 November 1901 at Terowie, South Australia, and registered as Thomas Steele Claudious, son of native-born parents Thomas Philip McGillick (1878-1956), postmaster, and Henrietta Catherine, née Billiet or Boulier (1878-1955). Had one daughter and two sons with Betty Ethel Madge, née Bartley, late White, later Newman (1912-2004), also a Communist, born at Auckland, New Zealand. Death: 22 May 1990 in his usual residence, Subiaco Road, Subiaco, Perth. 

  • Rally against conscription.
  • ‘A capable furlong and quarter-mile athlete’, he was secretary of the Underdale Athletic Club, Adelaide, in March 1928.
  • In 1930 was an executive officer of the Clerks’ Union, which he represented on the Trades and Labor Council in Adelaide.
  • After thirteen years in the Australian Labor Party he became a member of the Communist Party of Australia in about 1930 and was Communist candidate for the seat of West Torrens in March 1930.
  • Secretary of the Friends of the Soviet Union. In 1938 he led the Australian Trade Union delegation to Soviet Russia which included Rupert Lockwood and attended the May Day celebrations in Moscow that year. After his return to Australia in August 1938 he travelled on a lecture tour of Australia lauding Communism. In July 1940 was editor of the banned journal Soviets Today.
  • In 1949 was a woolclasser, living with Betty Ethel McGillick at Darlinghurst, Sydney. That year, having left the CPA, he gave evidence to the Royal Commission on Communism. In 1950-1951 he travelled Australia denouncing Communism, sponsored by The People’s Union of New South Wales, organised in 1949 to protest against the coal strike.
  • Cause of death: cerebral haemorrhage (1 hour) and generalised arteriosclerosis.
  • Son Tony McGillick (1941-1992) (named Antonov Carlyle after his parents’ heroes) was an important artist and promoter of indigenous art, through his Central Street Gallery in Sydney, from 1966 to 1970.

Malcolm Henry Ellis, The Garden path (Sydney, 1949).

Additional Resources

  • photo, Register (Adelaide), 16 March 1928, p 6
  • profile, Workers' Weekly (Sydney), 28 March 1930, p 4
  • photo, Advocate (Burnie, Tas), 9 October 1950, p 2

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'McGillick, Thomas Claudius (Tony) (1901–1990)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 31 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012