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Issue #1637      May 7, 2014

Vale Peter Nicholls 1932-2014

Long-serving local councillor and CPA Port Branch member, Peter Nicholls, passed away recently following a stroke. Many comrades and friends attended a wake at the Semaphore Workers Club on Sunday where his efforts in support of the community were toasted and celebrated. The following is one of the contributions made in memory of Peter by Party General Secretary Bob Briton:

Friends, I was honoured to be asked by my Party comrades to say a few words about Peter Nicholls. Firstly, on behalf of the Central Committee of the CPA, our deepest sympathies go out to Peter’s family. We assumed, probably like you did, that Peter would keep up his many commitments and contributing at our meetings for many years to come. We’re going to miss him.

This is quite an emotional time for our State Committee. I just came from the dedication of another name on the Workers Memorial. It was strange not to see Peter there. The name being put on the memorial was Dr Alan Finger, a legendary member of our movement who passed away in 1985. There are many other Communists on that memorial.

The monument honours the contribution of local people to the interests and well-being of workers of Port Adelaide. The fact that there are so many of our comrades’ names up there is a recognition of the great qualities that they brought to their work. I would be very surprised if we don’t see comrade Peter’s name up there in the years to come, in recognition of his efforts and many great qualities.

As a member of the Port Branch of the Party with Peter for many years I saw these strengths of character first hand. Peter was loyal. The most obvious and outward sign of this was his very vocal support for the Port Adelaide Football Club but that wasn’t the end of it.

He swam against a very strong ideological tide in the community and overcame it. When he was elected and re-elected to Council, in the declaration of political affiliations printed in the Portside Messenger every year he would proudly declare his membership of the Communist Party. This gave all his comrades a boost in morale, as well.

When he was able to direct a donation from Council to a community organisation, he would often give it to the Semaphore Workers Club, which is well known in the community as having a very close association with our Party and the more militant sections of the labour movement.

Peter’s patient, reasoned approach was greatly appreciated on the Council. He was an internationalist but a great patriot at the same time. He was an avid reader of Australian history. He was opposed to grandstanding and fads in politics. He followed in the tradition of the late Ron Connolly and Jim Mitchell in this regard.

He was a practical person and utterly reliable. To the last week of his life he delivered the Guardian, the weekly paper of the CPA, to customers in the district and to the public libraries. These will be my lasting memories and impressions of Peter; those of a loyal and committed person.

Next article – May Day Adelaide SA

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