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Alfred Matthew (Alf) Dickie (1903–1978)

by Joe Kiers

A tribute by Joe Kiers of the Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament to a memorial service for Alf Dickie, where orations were made by Ethel Mitchel, Moderator of the Uniting Church, and the Reverends Dirk Wootton and Arthur Faulkner.

Alf [Alfred] Dickie was an active Christian, a determined peace fighter committed to social justice. He was a warm human being, with great patience and a lively sense of humor.

Early in his career as a Presbyterian minister, Alf recognised that his parish was much broader than the congregation he served.

For him, Christianity and Socialism were handmaidens. He struggled for a world of peace, social justice and national independence.

Soon after World War II ended, the cold war began, accompanied by attacks on democratic rights and determined actions to destroy the developing national liberation movements.

Alf Dickie responded by playing a prominent role in forming the Victorian and Australian Peace Councils and the Democratic Rights Council.

His presidency of both bodies showed his conviction that the struggle for civil liberties and peace were one.

Alf once said at a public meeting: "The only way to prevent men of common concern and common purpose from association is to kill them, for the fires of freedom will burn even in a concentration camp. And when these fires spread they will be devastating."

In these early crucial years for the peace movement, Alf and his colleagues were attacked within his own church and without. He met these with steadfast fortitude. Alison and his family's support was of great value and importance then, as throughout his life.

Alf Dickie's election as Moderator of his church in 1965 was a tribute to, and vindication of, his lifelong fidelity to his convictions.

In 1959, during the depths of the cold war, the Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament was formed with Alf as president. He continued to lead our organisation until the early '70s. His influence extended beyond our shores. For many years he played a significant role in the World Peace Council, where his counsel was deeply respected and valued.

As long as people fight for a peaceful world, an end to the arms race, for the unity of peoples and social justice, Alfs inspiration will remain with us

The tribute he would most appreciate is that his work in the struggle for human dignity and a peaceful world should continue, particularly in the organisation he helped found and to which he gave so many devoted years.

Alf Dickie's life brought lustre and stature to himself, his family, his church, the peace movement. His memory will always be precious, an inspiration to us all.

Original publication

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Citation details

Joe Kiers, 'Dickie, Alfred Matthew (Alf) (1903–1978)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


22 June, 1903
Collingwood, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


30 December, 1978 (aged 75)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism