Posts Tagged ‘Origlass’

Susanna Short’s Laurie Short: A Political Life

May 21, 2005

A summary history

Shane Hopkinson


The following are summary notes to a longer piece I was planning to write some time ago about the early days of the Trotskyist movement in Australia, based on Susanna Short’s book on her father, Laurie, and Hall Greenland’s book on Nick Origlass, to tell the story of the early days of the movement in Australia.

As time has got the better of me I decided to simply post my summary of the relevant part of Susanna Short’s book, which is all I have been able to complete. I have tried to aviod editorialising over her comments but I will say a few words here that might clarify the story.



Red Hot, biography of Nick Origlass

December 11, 2003

Bob Gould

Red Hot, by Hall Greenland, 1998, Wellington Lane Press

My mate and old political sparring partner, Hall Greenland, has finally completed and published his biography of Nick Origlass, one of the most significant left figures in the political life of Sydney’s inner-west for about 60 years, although from the point of view of pompous official history — the history of prime ministers, governors, company directors and movie stars — he was but a bit player.


The Balmain ironworkers’ strike of 1945

August 13, 2003

Daphne Gollan

Part 1. The factions emerge
Part 2. The strike against the union

Daphne Gollan, Nick Origlass and the history of the ironworkers’ union, an introduction by Bob Gould

These two articles on the Balmain ironworkers’ struggle were published in Labour History in May and November 1972. Another article by Daphne Gollan, The Memoirs of Cleopatra Sweatfigure, written in 1980, is a mature autobiographical piece that had great influence, particularly among feminists, in the 1980s. Daphne Gollan, who died a few years ago, was the former wife of Robin Gollan (the labour historian), lover of the late Nick Origlass (the long-lived and stubborn pioneer Australian Trotskyist) and herself a very capable labour historian.


Nick Origlass, 1908-1996

November 2, 2002

Issy Wyner


Nick Origlass, left activist, expellee of renown, Balmain legend and former mayor of Leichhardt, died in Sydney on May 17, aged 88. Born in Woodstock, North Queensland, in 1908, Nick joined the Communist Party in 1931 but was expelled soon afterwards. During World War II he became a Federated Ironworkers Association delegate at Mort’s Dock, Balmain, and with Issy Wyner and others was a central figure in the Balmain ironworkers’ strike of 1945, which marked the end of Communist control of the FIA. Expelled from the union twice — first by the Communists and later by the right-wing Groupers – he joined the ALP and in 1958 was elected to Leichhardt Council. A decade later, with his comrade, Issy Wyner, he was expelled from the Labor Party, but both were subsequently re-elected to the council as Independent Labor candidates. As mayor of Leichhardt, Nick championed the cause of open government.