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Alexander (Alex) Macdonald (1910–1969)

News of the sudden death of Alexander (Alex) Macdonald in Brisbane this week, at the age of 59,  caused shock and grief throughout the Australian trade union and progressive movements.

Alex Macdonald, a leading member of the Communist Party, was regarded with respect and affection by countless numbers from all walks of life and of all ages, including those who disagreed with his unswerving communist views.

The positions he held in the trade union movement included: member of the interstate executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions continuously since 1946 (giving him an ACTU executive service surpassed by very few), secretary of the Queensland Trades and Labor Council since 1951 (being, until recent years, its only full-time official) and, before that, Queensland State secretary of the Federated Ironworkers' Association from 1942 to 1951.

In the range of his progressive interests and work, he served as a model of a forward-thinking trade union leader. He played an important part as an executive member of the Queensland Peace Committee; he did much towards developing understanding and cooperation between unionists and students and other youth; he was unceasingly active around trade union and other democratic rights; the causes of women's rights, Aboriginal advancement and pensioner needs had his constant 'and vigorous support

His leadership — militant, courageous, skilful — of workers' struggles was outstanding. It spanned the period from when, as a young man not long in Australia from Scotland, he was "on the track" during the depression, through to the bitter and complicated struggles at Mt. Isa and elsewhere in recent years. 

Alex Macdonald joined the Communist Party in the 1930s. He was continuously a member of the Queensland State Committee from its creation and of the party's Central Committee (now National Committee) from the 1940s. He was for many years up to his death a member of the party's Queensland State executive.

Tribune joins in tribute to one who did so much for the Australian working class and its progressive causes, and offers condolence to Alex Macdonald's widow, Molly — whose unfailing help meant so much to him — and his family.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • photo, Tribune (Sydney), 12 May 1948, p 1
  • funeral, Tribune (Sydney), 27 August 1969, p 4

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Macdonald, Alexander (Alex) (1910–1969)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 May 2024.

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