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Issue #1553      27 June 2012

Obituary

Anne Duffy-Lindsay

The Communist Party of Australia is saddened to announce the death of a valued, respected and loved activist, Comrade Anne Duffy-Lindsay. Anne was born into a radical Republican family in Ballyduffy, a suburb of the town of Granand in County Longford, Ireland on December 31, 1922.


Anne with Natasha Symon at a workers’ lunch, Sydney 2011.

She endured the grim times of the Great Depression and commented that this was “the background where I got my early education about the haves and the have nots”.

Her family and neighbours hid IRA men on the run and many years later in Australia Anne helped Vietnam War resisters evade arrest. “I never put personal security before struggling for justice,” she said.

An uncle had sent her poems by Lawson and Patterson and stories of the 1890 shearers’ strike. She arrived in Australia on September 3, 1949, excited by the prospect of an enormous continent and new people.

She felt an immediate affinity with the first Australians, saying that the Aborigines and the Irish had both been robbed, oppressed and denigrated. She was active in the union movement, the peace movement and in the struggle for equality for Aborigines.

It was through the Seamens’ Union that she met and married beloved husband Jock Lindsay. Although he died almost 30 years ago, Anne spoke of him often and his photograph was beside her bed in the hospice during her last days.

Her two deepest and enduring commitments were the Communist Party of Australia and the reunification of her beloved Ireland.

Anne said: “I have always belonged to a revolutionary party.” She joined the Maritime Branch of the Communist Party in 1956, a few years after she became, as she always said of herself, “a fully paid up card carrying Communist Party member”.

She was widely known for her soap box oratory in the Domain. Her speeches were fiery, informed, unique. She continued to speak for the Communist Party in the Domain until she was over 60.

Anne was also famous as a seller of the Party paper, the Tribune, the Socialist and then the Guardian. No wharfies or seamens stop work meeting was held without Anne at the door, Party paper in hand.

She was an internationalist and was involved in many campaigns, including against Apartheid, for the liberation of East Timor and Palestine, against Pinochet’s fascist coup in Chile, and in opposition to the brutal US war against Vietnam.

Her hero was James Connolly. She was a member of the Connolly Association, Secretary to the Irish Prisoners of War and the Voice of the Voiceless Committees, involved in Australian Aid to Ireland and the Australian Irish Association.

She never missed a St Patrick’s Day parade and she was deeply involved in the work to get a memorial erected to the Irish hunger strikers. Every Easter she participated in activities commemorating the Easter Uprising.

Anne worked as a nurse in World War II. She commented later that nursing was not her first choice but her “other preferences took sacks of money”. She really wanted to be an anthropologist.

In Australia she worked as a remote area nurse, often in Aboriginal communities, and as a psychiatric nurse in Sydney hospitals. Her compassion and her firmness were equally legendary and she was widely loved and respected.

The life of this remarkable, indefatigable comrade is summed up in her own words: “I know that I have never neglected the struggle of any people on earth for justice, equality and the right to develop their full potential.”

We are sad that Anne is no longer with us, but her spirit and what she worked for all her life will inspire us and make us continue to work for peace and social justice, for a socialist world and a sustainable, healthy planet.

The Communist Party of Australia sends its deepest sympathy to all her comrades and friends.  

Next article – Corporate welfare alive and well

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