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Noel (Nobby) Eatock (1912–2000)

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This entry is from People Australia

Noel (Nobby) Eatock (1912-2000?) labourer, clerk, Communist and gaoled protester 

Birth: 31 January 1912 at Euroa, Victoria, son of Queensland-born parents William Eatock (1869-1943), an Aboriginal stockman, later mail driver, and Lucy Harriett, née Wakenshaw (1874-1950). Marriage: 13 February 1932 in the District Registrar’s Office, Glebe, Sydney, to Elizabeth Holmes (Betty) Frame (1910-19xx), a waitress, born in Lanarksire, Scotland. They had two daughters. Death: possibly 2000 in Scotland. 

  • Father’s details not stated on Noel’s birth certificate, but were given on his marriage certificate.
  • Unemployed Workers’ Movement activist and Communist.
  • With his mother, Lucy, he was active at dole protest at Glebe, in Sydney, in October 1932. Despite claim that he had been sent home to fetch a stool for the speakers, supported by witnesses, and an unblemished police record, he was arrested, charged and convicted with battering a police sergeant.
  • Sentenced to two and a half year's gaol, 'the heaviest sentence ever inflicted on a "class-war" prisoner' in Australia. The Communist Party of Australia allowed Eatock to be gaoled, though it seems one 'Bluey' Barry or Sampson — subsequently a member of the International Brigade killed in Spain in January 1937 — was the culprit.
  • Wrongful imprisonment became subject of energetic 'Free Eatock' campaign organised by Jack Sylvester and inspired separate Left opposition to emerge before there was an international Trotskyist movement.
  • Served full gaol term. After leaving gaol he returned home briefly but then disappeared without trace.
  • Described as 'shy and gentle . . . delicate'.
  • Wife divorced him in 1940 and remarried.
  • Family sources suggest that he died in Scotland about 2000.

Hall Greenland, Red Hot: The Life & Times of Nick Origlass 1908–1996 (Sydney, 1998).

Citation details

'Eatock, Noel (Nobby) (1912–2000)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


31 January, 1912
Euroa, Victoria, Australia


2000 (aged ~ 87)

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Key Organisations
Political Activism