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Eliot Valens Elliott, 1902-1984
The Hummer (1985)
  • Rowan Cahill, University of Wollongong
During November 1984 Eliot Valens Elliott, Federal Secretary of the Seamen’s Union of Australia (SUA) for 37 years (1941-1978), died in Sydney’s Hornsby Hospital. In the weeks that followed his death I tracked down and read an old novel he had once recommended to me: The Harbor(19l5) by American author Ernest Poole. In its central character Joe Kramer, knockabout socialist militant, I recognised many of the qualities I’d loved in the SUA leader — courage, commitment, faith, blunt honesty, integrity, love for the working class, hatred of war, a socialist vision of a better human future; and grit. And like Kramer, when Elliott spoke about socialism his words came to life; and personally, I knew I wasn’t listening to a dream. I felt close to the man again, and recalled the way an anti-union publications had once described him; as “a communist Robin Hood”. There was something in that too.
  • Rowan Cahill,
  • E. V. Elliott,
  • SUA,
  • Seamen's Union of Australia,
  • Sydney,
  • Robin Hood,
  • Ernest Poole,
  • socialist,
  • militant
Publication Date
Citation Information
Rowan Cahill. "Eliot Valens Elliott, 1902-1984" The Hummer Iss. 8 (1985)
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