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Joseph Patrick (Joe) Brazel (1899–1985)

Comrades and friends of Joe [Joseph Patrick] Brazel were saddened to learn of his death last year at the age of 86.

Joe Brazel was born in Coolgardie in 1899. By the time he was three, both his parents were dead. His sister, two brothers and himself were brought up by relatives and at the Catholic orphanage on Goodwood Road in Adelaide. When he was nine, he began work on a farm in the mid-north of South Australia for 3d. a week and his keep.

The rest of his working life was spent in the Iron Triangle — Iron Knob, Whyalla and Port Augusta. He joined the Communist Party and was later chairperson at the Whyalla branch.

He became the full-time elected secretary of the Whyalla-Pt Pirie Ironworkers branch in 1941, holding the position for 10 years before court-controlled ballots ousted all the Communist officials of the union.

He played a leading part in the Iron Knob "Walk the hill" strike of 1949. Yet so strong was the BHP hold on the town of Whyalla, he could not gain employment in the town after his defeat despite it being a time of labor shortage.

After a stint of bottle collecting, he was forced to leave Whyalla and eventually gained employment at the Pt Augusta hospital where he remained until his retirement.

Sadly, he lost both his legs and spent many years up to death in the hospital.

In the 1930s he was awarded the King's Medal for Bravery for saving the life of a fellow-worker in an ore bin at Whyalla. He was secretary of the Whyalla cycling club and a member of many other local organisations.

Among those who knew him, Joe exemplified the best qualities of workers in the towns of the Iron Triangle. Overcoming early disabilities be became as one with the I workers, meeting them on their own ground in pubs and clubs.

With his considerable experiences, his amiable g personality and casual j approach to life, backed by a large measure of principle and courage, he was looked to as a leader of the workers struggle for which he is still remembered in the city of Whyalla, particularly by older comrades.

Tribune expresses its condolences to his friends and relatives.

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Citation details

'Brazel, Joseph Patrick (Joe) (1899–1985)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/brazel-joseph-patrick-joe-33233/text41461, accessed 22 February 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Birth

7 November, 1899
Coolgardie, Western Australia, Australia

Death

11 May, 1985 (aged 85)
Port Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

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.

Occupation
Key Events
Key Organisations
Political Activism