The journalist/publicist Rupert Lockwood (1908-1997) was one of Australia’s best known Cold War communists, his name synonymous with the Royal Commission into Espionage in Australia, 1954-1955, as author of the notorious Document J. However the communist journalist did not spring fully formed into history. He joined the Australian Communist Party in 1939. This article traces Lockwood’s development as a journalist and his evolution as a communist between the wars. It is a story that ranges from small-town Western Victoria, and the West Wimmera Mail, to Melbourne and Sir Keith Murdoch’s Herald. In between, much of the world is traversed--significantly, South East Asia and Civil War Spain. Lockwood was part of a generation of Australian journalists, arguably the best of that generation (people like Brian Fitzpatrick, Douglas Wilkie, John Fisher, Clive Turnbull, Wilfred Burchett, later Alan Moorehead, and James Aldridge). This account of his pre-communist career is as much a glimpse of the world of these journalists as it is an individual’s biography.