Person - Tom Posa

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THOMAS POSA (1930 - 2009)

Of interest to ASIO, Tom in 1952 acted in The Travelling Musicians, Sky Without Birds (NT’s contribution to the Youth Carnival for Peace and Friendship), School for Wives and played a servant and a gendarme from St Petersburg in An Inspector General. After a long absence he returned to the theatre to act in An Enemy of the People 1987 and Sons of Cain 1993. He affected a superior air and English accent.

After the 1952 Christmas break Tom Posa sent the theatre a telegram stating that he was in Melbourne and unable to resume his roles in An Inspector General in the New Year. The Friday night show was cancelled, Ken McCarron filled in at the last minute, and Maurie Keane eventually took over. Expelled for behaving in “a reprehensible and irresponsible manner”, Tom eventually wrote to Miriam Hampson, saying that he wouldn’t be back at all.

It turned out that, after failing a NSW teaching diploma, he’d hitch-hiked to Melbourne and was left stranded. He renewed tertiary studies in Victoria where he was subsequently employed as a schoolteacher. In 1967, while sharing accommodation in London with his brother George, he caught up with Ken Warren. Tom regretted not having gone professional in the 1950s when so many other actors tried their luck.

Tom Posa was born in Yugoslavia. He and his brother George as children lived at Naretha on the Nullarbor where their father worked on lime kilns with other “Croats”, a tough life. Tom joined the Labour Club at Sydney University and supported the Anti Conscription Committee. An Arts 111 student in 1951, he was reported on by ASIO who described him as tall with long black hair, unkempt in appearance and wearing a peace badge. The agent stated he was Communist and advised against his being employed in the Public Service. In early 1952 Tom was turned down for a job with the Department of Supply.

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