Person - Tom Nelson

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TOM NELSON (1908 - 1995)

Tommy Nelson and Stan Moran were the Waterside Workers Federation (WWF) contacts who arranged NT bookings for use of the wharfies’ hall in Sussex Street. Nelson liaised with the WWF Film Unit (run by Jock Levy, Norma Disher and Keith Gow) to make its first documentary Pensions for Veterans in 1953, and was, with Harry Black, a member of the WWF Cultural Unit.

At various times President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Sydney branch of the WWF, Nelson was - with Jim Healy, Eddie Roach, Matt Munro and Stan Moran – one of the union's top men, all members of the CPA which also controlled the Seamen’s Union, Ironworkers and coal miners.

Born Charles Andrew Nelson at Wilcannia on 29 July 1908, a Catholic, he began his working life as a shearer where he first became interested in Socialism and got his first taste of active unionism during the wide comb strikes of the 1920s. He moved to Sydney during the Depression and started working on the wharves.

After travelling to Communist countries, Tom Nelson in 1960 published Workers’ Power as a Wharfie Sees It. He wrote that in the USSR there had been a decline in crime; in Czechoslovakia price control and good social services; and in China increased production ~ and its young people didn't smoke or drink. Nelson's other publications include Towards Socialism 1939 and a booklet The Hungry Mile 1957.

Tom Nelson died at Arncliffe on 20 February 1995.

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