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Purse, Frank Henry (1906–1976)

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Frank Henry Leslie Purse (1906-1976) bricklayer, Communist and trade union leader 

Birth: 9 September 1906 at Alexandria, Sydney, New South Wales, son of native-born parents Joseph Henry Purse (1867-1927), bootmaker, and Elizabeth Ann, née Bryant (1872-1941). Marriages: (1) 1932 in Canterbury, Sydney, to native-born Eunice Claire Mitchell (1910-1972), a milliner. The marriage ended in divorce. (2) 8 August 1951 in Registrar General’s Office, Sydney, to an English-born divorcée Barbara [née Beatrice Emily Bolas], late Primrose, also known as Boyd (1914-1993), journalist. Death: 13 May 1976 in hospital at Mosman, NSW. 

  • Served in Australian Citizen Military forces [militia] in early 1920s.
  • Became active in the Bricklayers' Union in early 1930s. Elected to executive of the Bricklayers' Union in 1935. President, Bricklayers' Union in late 1930s and organiser 1941.
  • Assistant secretary of the NSW branch of the Building Workers’ Industrial Union (BWIU) from 1943 to 1947, with amalgamation of carpenters and bricklayers in 1947. Elected unopposed as federal secretary BWIU in 1947. One of thirteen people named by Menzies when the anti-communist bill was presented to Federal Parliament.
  • Visited China in 1960 and attended congress of the General Confederation of Industrial Labor in Rome, Italy, in 1965.
  • Member of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Delegate at international conferences. Retired from union in September 1973.
  • Socialist Party of Australia member.
  • Cause of death: lung cancer.

Sources
Tribune
(Sydney), 9 October 1948, p 8 [https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/208112681]; John Playford, Doctrinal and strategic problems of the Communist Party of Australia, 1945-1962, PhD thesis, ANU, 1962, p 429; note by Barbara Purse 1991; Socialist, 26 May 1976, p 3; Building Worker, October 1973

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Purse, Frank Henry (1906–1976)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/purse-frank-henry-33068/text41232, accessed 28 January 2023.

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