Another reason to #FundTrove: Communist Party of Australia material now digitised

The first issue of 'Communist Review' after the ban was lifted by the Curtin Government on the magazine.

The first issue of ‘Communist Review’ after the ban was lifted by the Curtin Government on the magazine.

It was recently announced that funding for the National Library of Australia’s digital database Trove was under threat due to the Turnbull government’s search for ‘efficiency dividends’. This has led to a large social media campaign by academics, archivists and general enthusiasts of history from across the globe to #FundTrove, with several petitions to maintain funding for the website.

As this blog seeks to keep you all informed of online material relating to the history of communism and the global left, I thought you would like to know that Trove’s newspaper archive has now digitised several publications of the Communist Party of Australia. This includes:

The Communist (weekly from 1921 to 1923)

The Workers’ Weekly (weekly from 1923 to 1939)

Communist Review (monthly from July 1941 to June 1943)

The Tribune (weekly from 1939 to 1954)

The best way to find these titles is by using the ‘browse’ function in Trove’s digital newspaper section.

This is a valuable resource for those interested in communism in Australia, covering some of the most controversial periods of the CPA’s history. If you haven’t already signed the petition to fund Trove, do so here!


Argh! Deadlines!


Sorry for not posting much lately, but deadlines are approaching and my various projects have all culminated to be due now. After submitting our manuscript on race, gender and the body in British immigration control to Palgrave Macmillan the other week, we have been given positive feedback by the series editors and the book will be going into production shortly – which means submitting all the necessary forms and other materials. At the same time, a very awesome book series has asked for draft chapters on my research into the CPGB and anti-racist politics – which means compiling and sending off stuff ASAP. Also, I have found out that I can apply for a DECRA – which means writing a large grant proposal by early March. And finally, I am off to South Africa in late March – which means I need to be contacting various archives and people prior to my arrival.

I promise I will post something interesting and very witty in the near future.

In the meantime, enjoy this 1980 Peel Session from The Cure:

New project: Monitoring Cypriots in 1930s London

I am very pleased announce that my colleague, Dr Andrekos Varnava and I, have just been awarded a Faculty Research Grant by Flinders University to undertake a new research project, titled ‘Monitoring a ‘suspect community’ in the UK: The colonialist origins of the national/border security nexus and interwar London’s Cypriot community’. Here is the outline of the project:

The main aim of this project is to examine why and how the British authorities during the inter-war years monitored the Cypriot community in London and what impact this had on broader British immigration policy. It is our hypothesis that the Cypriot community in the UK became a focus point for the British security services, the Metropolitan Police and the Colonial Office because they were deemed to be ‘deviant’ in two ways: a) involved in criminal activities, such as gambling, robbery, prostitution, and others forms of organised crime; b) involved in subversive political activity, primarily links with the Communist Party of Great Britain and the Community Party of Cyprus. Both these ‘deviant’ characteristics not only singled-out the Cypriots for surveillance, but brought into question the migration of other Cypriots to Britain. The project will undertake an examination of National Archive documents relating to the Colonial Office, the Security Services, the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police to explore how the Cypriot community in London was characterised as ‘deviant’ and transformed into a ‘suspect community’ that needed to be closely monitored and regulated.

By looking at the ways in which the British authorities restricted and monitored the movement of Cypriots to the UK and also within the country, we seek to propose an answer to why Cypriots were singled out for immigration control 30-40 years before other British colonial subjects. We will argue that the focus upon the Cypriot community created what criminologists and security studies scholars have described as a ‘suspect community’, which creates the conditions for discriminatory practices to be inflicted upon the community, yet normalised by the authorities and wider society. 

This combines my research into the British left and UK immigration controls with Andrekos’ research on the colonial administration of Cyprus within the British Empire. The research will be predominantly based on files found at the National Archives, but will also incorporate material from the Labour History Archive and Study Centre in Manchester, the Working Class Movement Library in Salford and the TUC Archive at London Metropolitan University.

This is a very exciting new project, combining several of my research interests, but also exploring an aspect of British immigration and colonial history that I have not looked at before. Andrekos is a dedicated and prolific researcher and it will be great to work on this project with him. Andrekos will be doing the majority of the archival research in August, but I hope to get to the LHASC and WCML while I am over in June.

As usual, anyone with intersecting research interests are advised to get in touch with us!