Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of History and Politics


This thesis explores aspects of the life, times, and career of Australian journalist Rupert Lockwood (1908-1997). During the Cold War, Lockwood was one of the best known members of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA), variously journalist, commentator, author, editor, orator, pamphleteer, broadcaster. His name is inextricably linked to the Royal Commission on Espionage (1954-55), as an unwilling, recalcitrant and hostile witness. In histories and commentaries Lockwood is generally referred to, often in a pejorative way, as “the communist journalist”. This thesis is an exploration of the life and the sixty-year career of Lockwood as a journalist and writer, in which membership of the CPA was but part (1939-1969). A general chronological framework is adopted, and the account developed with regard to three aspects of his life and career– as a journalist, as a communist, and as an intellectual.

By contextualising the communist period of Lockwood’s life in his overall life and times, the portrait of a significant Australian journalist emerges, one who chose to leave the capitalist press for the adversarial and counter sphere of labour movement journalism, the latter the site of his work from 1940 until retirement in 1985. The thesis also explores Lockwood’s considerable intellectual activity, and mounts a case for recognition of the originality and sophistication of his largely unacknowledged research and writings in the areas of Australian history, politics, and political economy.

Overall, this thesis contributes empirical knowledge and understandings to a number of aspects of Australian history: to labour movement history generally, and specifically to communist and labour biography; to journalism history; and to intellectual history. In so doing, it also contributes to the understanding of Australia between the two World Wars, and during the Cold War.