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Anthony (Tony) Donohoe (1912–1984)

by Joe Staats

Tribune reports with sadness the death of Tony Donohoe on April 30.

Tony joined the CPA in 1942 in Yallourn, part of the State Electricity Commission's Latrobe Valley power complex in Victoria. He was a leading activist until his retirement in 1974 after which his health deteriorated.

He was an effective organiser and, as such, played an important part in organising public opinion against Menzies' Communist Party Dissolution Bill in 1951. During the late 'fifties, he played an important role in the defeat of Santamaria's industrial groupers' control of the Gippsland Trades and Labor Council in 1961.

Tony was a shop steward at the Yallourn power station for 30 years and president of the Yallourn, and later Latrobe Valley, branch of the Boilermakers Society (later the AMFSU) for 20 years. He served on the Central Gippsland Trades and Labor Council from 1943, helped organise the Council bus to the May Day rally, and was active in the anti-Viet Nam war movement.

He sold the Victorian Guardian, Tribune, Soviet Weekly and other socialist publications at the Yallourn power station and at Ma Brown's Yallourn Hotel.

During the 'fifties he was challenged by some Industrial Groupers who tried to remove Tony and his literature stand from outside the Yallourn pub. He knocked five of them out cold, the sixth ran to the police station for help. Neither groupers nor police could deter Tony from continuing his stand for a long time after. He once held the heavyweight boxing title for Gippsland.

Of Irish parentage, Tony was born in Ashington, Northum berland in 1912. After his father's death he went to live in Ireland with his grandparents in County Mayo at the age of nine. Sponsored by the Big Brother Movement, he came to Australia in 1928, aged 16, together with his 14-year-old brother. Both were sent to work on the Queensland canefields. Tony later joined his family who, in the meantime, had migrated to Australia, in Wonthaggi, Victoria.

Tony was loved and respected by his many friends. Tribune extends sincere condolences to Alice and family.

Original publication

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Citation details

Joe Staats, 'Donohoe, Anthony (Tony) (1912–1984)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


18 January, 1912
Ashington, Northumberland, England


30 April, 1984 (aged 72)
Doveton, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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