Fremantle Stuff > people > Patrick Laurence Troy.
See also: Professor Patrick Nicol Troy (son).
1908-1978, union organiser
City of Fremantle:
Patrick Laurence Troy was a well-known face around Fremantle as a prominent maritime worker and trade unionist. Small in stature but well read, articulate and fiery, he was also Western Australia’s best-known communist. Born in South Melbourne in 1908, he moved to Fremantle with his family during the First World War and attended the local Christian Brothers’ College. Upon leaving school he was employed in various kinds of manual labour until he became a seaman with the State Shipping Service in 1924. Prolonged periods of unemployment during the Great Depression help form his views on politics and social justice. He was elected an official of the Coastal Dock, Rivers and Harbour Works Union of Workers in 1944 and became secretary in 1948. He also served as secretary of the Maritime Services Union, helped establish the WA branch of the Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union and in 1963 was a founder of the WA Trades and Labour Council. Active in the peace movement and strong supporter of Aboriginal rights, Paddy was also known for his open-handed generosity. He retired in 1973 and died in 1978. In addition to Paddy Troy Mall, Fremantle Ports also has a pilot boat named in his honour.
Patrick Troy was born in South Melbourne to Irish marine officer Patrick William Troy and Hilda Winifred, née Ainsworth. The Troys moved to Fremantle, Western Australia, during World War I, and Paddy attended the local Christian Brothers College. He left school in 1921 to work in various kinds of manual labour until he became a seaman in the State Shipping Service in 1924. The family moved to Geraldton in 1926, where Troy began to take responsibility for the family's welfare as his father's health declined.
The Great Depression was a challenging time for Troy, who spent long periods unemployed with only casual work to support his family. He broke with the Catholic Church and the Australian Labor Party, and joined the Communist Party of Australia in 1934. In 1936 he led a strike at the Youanmi gold mine where he worked. He married Mabel Grace Nielsen at St John's Church of England in Fremantle in 1935.
Troy was gaoled for three months after the banning of the Communist Party in 1940, after which he returned to the marine industry. He was elected an official of the Coastal Dock, Rivers and Harbour Works Union of Workers in 1944, and became secretary in 1948. The union was deregistered by the Court of Arbitration in 1952, and Troy began rebuilding the Maritime Services Union, becoming its secretary. In 1955 he helped establish the WA branch of the Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union, but was thwarted in his attempts to amalgamate the various state maritime unions. He was a founder of the Western Australian Trades and Labor Council in 1963.
Troy was a strong supporter of Aboriginal emancipation, and ran on many occasions for the federal and state parliaments. During his period of activity he was Western Australia's most prominent communist; despite this, he enjoyed the respect of employers and the trust of his union. He retired in 1973. Following his wife's death in 1975, he remarried on 5 December 1976 at Attadale, to Evelyn May Henderson, a widow. He died in 1978 at Royal Perth Hospital and was cremated. He had a pilot boat named after him [in 1985].
Also named after him is the Paddy Troy Mall in central Fremantle. The benches still outside the Collie St end of the Esplanade Hotel, opposite the Trades Hall building, were put there by Troy so that waterside workers waiting for a job did not have to sit on the street kerb.
Macintyre, Stuart 1984, Militant: The Life and Times of Paddy Troy, Allen & Unwin.
Macintyre, Stuart 2002, 'Troy, Patrick Laurence (1908–1978)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, ANU.
Williams, Justina 1976, 'The hard way', The First Furrow, Lone Hand Press, Willagee: 161-163.
Wikipedia page for Paddy Troy.
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