Deposit Z589 - Fred Paterson collection

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Fred Paterson collection


  • c. 1975 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

2 audio cassettes: mono

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Frederick Woolnough (Fred) Paterson, barrister and politician, was born on 13 June 1897 at Gladstone, Queensland. He studied at the University of Queensland (BA, 1920) and also enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force from 1918-19. From 1920-22 he took up a Rhodes Scholarship (awarded in 1918) at Merton College, Oxford. Back in Brisbane, in 1923 Paterson joined the Australian Labor Party and Communist Party of Australia. From 1923-1925 he was Teacher and Vice Warden, St Johns School; 1925 worked as a pig farmer in Gladstone. By 1925 Paterson had resigned from the Communist Party of Australia. He contested two State elections (Port Curtis in 1926 and Paddington in 1929 - both unsuccessful) as an Independent. A member (April 1927-November 1928) of the Gladstone Town Council, he was deputy-mayor and chairman of the finance committee; he supported striking railwaymen and waterside workers. In 1928 he moved to Brisbane to study for the Barrister's bar exam. Paterson rejoined the CPA in January 1930 and was arrested for making an allegedly seditious speech in the Brisbane Domain. He was admitted to the Bar on 18 March 1931. In 1932 he started a criminal law practice in Townsville; 1937 was Editor, Communist newspaper, North Queensland Guardian; 1939-44 became Alderman (Councillor), Townsville City Council; 1944-50 won state seat of Bowen and became the first Communist in Australia elected to parliament; 1951 stood for Senate (unsuccessful); 1952 moved to Sydney and started an Industrial Law practice. Paterson retired in 1961 and died in Concord, Sydney on 17 October 1977.

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Scope and content

Audio tapes with biographical interviews of Fred Paterson. The Fred Paterson Story [sound recording]: Rhodes scholar, theologian, atheist, town councillor, first Communist to be elected to an Australian parliament: a life of service, East Perth : Grand Specialities - Round & Round Cassettes


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Researchers must sign an access agreement

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La Trobe University Library: 994.05 F852

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by Erin Gallant on 17 August 2011; revised 6 September 2011




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