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Hedley James McMeekin (1916–1986)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Hedley James Parker (Mac) McMeekin (1916-1986) medical practitioner and Communist 

Birth: 25 February 1916 at Warrnambool, Victoria, son of native-born parents James Parker McMeekin (1885-1935), clerk, and Emily Hanchen, née Gerstman (1881-1967). Marriage: 1947 at Broken Hill, New South Wales, to Dorothy Helena Casey (1920-1996), born in Adelaide, South Australia. They had three daughters. Death: 18 February 1986 in a private hospital at Adelaide, South Australia; usual residence Colley Terrace, Glenelg, Adelaide. Religion: nominally Presbyterian. 

  • Graduated MBBS University of Melbourne, 1940. Had moved to Broken Hill, NSW, by 1943 and was resident doctor at the hospital before entering private practice. Practised in Patton Street.
  • Joined the Communist Party of Australia. Leading communist in Broken Hill for many years.
  • In 1947 stood as a Communist candidate for Broken Hill Municipal Council and, in a by-election in March 1949, for the State seat of Cobar. According to an ASIO informer, the doctor was thrown in the Darling River by a crowd which took exception to his views when conducting a public meeting at Burke. The press, however, reported that he was “manhandled” and the shirt torn from his back.
  • Associated with the Australia-USSR Society. Sometime vice-president of the Alma Sporting Club.
  • Was a member of the Doctors’ Delegation to the Soviet Union in 1961.
  • Still resident at Broken Hill in 1980 living with his daughter, Dorothy, a nurse.
  • Cause of death: hepatic encephalopathy (6 months), chronic liver disease (4 years) and diabetes mellitus (4 years).

John Playford, Doctrinal and strategic problems of the Communist Party of Australia, 1945-1962, PhD thesis, ANU, 1962, p 425.

Additional Resources

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'McMeekin, Hedley James (1916–1986)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Hedley McMeekin, 1949

Hedley McMeekin, 1949

Tribune (Sydney), 23 February 1949, p 8

Life Summary [details]


25 February, 1916
Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia


18 February, 1986 (aged 69)
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Cause of Death

liver dysfunction

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
Political Activism