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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

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Doris (Dot) Hills (1901–1978)

Dot [Doris] Hills of Port Melbourne who died recently was a veteran Communist. She joined the party in 1933 and remained active in the working class movement, latterly as an SPA member.

Not long after Dot married Tom Hills the depression struck, and few places were worse hit than Port Melbourne where most workers were unemployed from the 1928 strike when scabs went onto the wharves.

Like most wharfies they lived from hand to mouth through the hungry thirties. Like so many others they were evicted from their home. Seeing no solution to social injustice but the abolition of capitalism they threw their whole energies into the Communist Party and the Unemployed Workers Movement. During the truly heroic 1933 dole strike which won cash payment of the dole, a gain not achieved in any other state. Dot worked unsparingly in the distribution of food.

A person who spoke her mind freely, she was never cowed.

During the Cold War period, with Tom deeply involved in union affairs. Dot took his place as Communist candidate for Port Melbourne council. Her election brochure shows the Party were pioneers in demanding kindergartens, health services, community centres and home services for pensioners when most people thought them Utopian demands.

The right wing was so concerned about the standing of Tom and Dot Hills, and the CPA in Port Melbourne, that they had her disfranchised on a technicality.

Always a fighter, Dot fought a single minded and courageous battle against illness but never lost interest in politics. Her family, friends and comrades, Port Melbourne and the working class movement were enriched by her life and are poorer for her passing.

Original publication

Citation details

'Hills, Doris (Dot) (1901–1978)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Hills, Dorothy Marie
  • Cobon, Dorothy Marie

Deniliquin, New South Wales, Australia


16 August, 1978 (aged ~ 77)
Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Key Organisations
Political Activism