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Gerald Patrick (Gerry) O'Day (1888–1971)

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Gerald Patrick (Gerry) O'Day (1880-1971) medical practitioner and Communist 

Birth: 1888 at Bungaree, Victoria, son of Patrick Gerald O’Day (1857-1934), produce merchant, born at Ballarat, Victoria, and Melbourne-born Kahleen Teresa, née Hyland (1860-1914). Marriage: 23 August 1916 at St Francis Church, Melbourne, to native-born Margaret Johanna (or Josine) Cummins (1889-1961). Widower. They had two sons. Death: 10 March 1971 at Parkville, Melbourne, usual residence York Street, St Kilda, Melbourne. 

  • His father was a councillor and sometime president of Bungaree Shire and thrice unsuccessfully contested the seat of Warrenheip in the Legislative Assembly.
  • Gerry was educated at St Patrick’s College, Ballarat, where he was a brilliant student, and the University of Melbourne (MBBS 1910; MD 1917).
  • Joined Communist Party (CPA), Melbourne in 1931 and became activist. Avid reader and popular speaker at the Yarra Bank, local halls, streets and factory gate. Wrote for CPA newspapers Workers Weekly and Tribune.
  • CPA candidate for Australian Senate in 1931, the Federal seat of Corio in a 1940 by-election, a Melbourne City Council seat in August 1944 and the Federal seats of Latrobe in 1954 and Kooyong in 1955.
  • Held Marxist tutorial classes in Melbourne about 1937. Later became a member of CPA (Marxist Leninist).
  • Visited Soviet Union in 1958 and China in 1964.
  • Author of paper: 'Why You Should Join the Communist Party of Australia'. Donated books from his extensive medical library to start Jack Morrison’s bookshop.
  • Cause of death: cardiac failure (2 months), atherosclerotic heart disease (5-6 years) and urinary tract infection (3 weeks).

Jean Devanny, Point of departure; the autobiography of Jean Devanny (St Lucia, 1986); John Playford, Doctrinal and strategic problems of the Communist Party of Australia, 1945-1962, PhD thesis, ANU, 1962, p 428; Workers Weekly, 17 August 1934, p 2; Tribune (Sydney), 24 March 1971 p 11.

Additional Resources

  • profile, Advocate (Melbourne), 18 February 1905, p 16
  • photo, Workers' Weekly (Sydney), 17 August 1934, p 2

Citation details

'O'Day, Gerald Patrick (Gerry) (1888–1971)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012