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Rudkin, Arthur William (1908–1994)

by Peter Sheldon

Arthur William Rudkin (1908-1994) chemist, communist and actor

Born 30 October 1908 at Loughborough, Leicestershire, England, son of Arthur William Rudkin, tailor’s salesman, and Kate, née Ward. Married Ruth Baxter (1917-1917) 30 July 1938 in Perth; four children. Died 3 June 1994 in Sydney.

  • Educated at Loughborough Grammar School, England. Arrived in Australia in 1925 as Salvation Army assisted immigrant.
  • Continued education at Perth Technical College; W.A. University, B.Sc. 1945.
  • Joined Communist Party (CP) in 1931. Established branch of CP at Bridgetown; Member of W.A. State Committee of CP 1933-45.
  • As Editor, ‘Workers’ Star’ he is said to have displayed ‘considerable political and journalistic skill, though somewhat over-addicted to exposures of the political misdeeds of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church’. Under his editorship ‘Workers’ Star’ increased from 700-1200.
  • Arrested on 6 June 1940, charged with breach of National Security Act WWII and jailed for four months for publishing information prejudicial to the war effort. Charge was based on a private letter written to British scientist J.B. Haldane about chemical deterrent to mustard gas, said to be ‘classified information’. Became air-raid warden.
  • Member of Science Committee, Victorian State Committee C.P. 1945-49. Employed with CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), Melbourne, by 1945. Research chemist with Sydney Metropolitan Water Board from 1950. Resigned from C.P. in 1950 over its uncritical support for Lysenko.
  • Active in Workers’ Art Guild while working as an actor. Worked in TV for Telecom advertisement. Active in New Theatre in Sydney.

Sources
John Playford, Doctrinal and strategic problems of the Communist Party of Australia, 1945-1962, PhD thesis, ANU, 1962, p.431; J. William, The First Furrow, p.100, 135, 165-67; England Census 1977 on Ancestry.com; Argus (Melbourne), 7 June 1940, p.11, Canberra Times, 28 March 1947, p.1, Workers Star (Perth), 21 December 1945, p.5.

Additional Resources

Citation details

Peter Sheldon, 'Rudkin, Arthur William (1908–1994)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/rudkin-arthur-william-31927/text39384, accessed 18 September 2021.

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