Profile - Edward (Ted) Hill (1915-1988)
Ted Hill was born in Mildura, Victoria and entered the University of Melbourne to study law in 1933. As a student he was inspired by Marxism and he joined the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) in 1936. Two years later he started practicing as a barrister and solicitor and in the 1940s he became a partner at Slater & Gordon.
Ted worked as a legal adviser to trade unions and the Victorian Trades’ Hall Council. He tutored and lectured on law and industrial history, including at the Marx School.
From 1945-62 he served as Victorian State Secretary of the CPA. In 1949-50 he appeared as a witness at the Royal Commission into communism in Victoria and as a witness and counsel at the royal commission on espionage in 1954-55. He was also a vigorous opponent of the Communist Party Dissolution Bill (1950). He travelled extensively for the CPA, including trips to Party congresses in Moscow in 1956 and 1959.
During the division in the CPA between Russia and China, Ted aligned himself with the Chinese Communist Party and made regular trips to China. He also formed and chaired the Marxist-Leninist CPA (1964-84) promoting the need for “all forms of struggle – peaceful and armed, open and secret, legal and illegal” (H Anderson 2007).
Ted was described as ‘rigid and single-minded'. He assisted conscientious objectors during the 1960s and was an ally of controversial trade unionists Clarrie O’Shea and Norm Gallagher.
In his later years Ted suffered from Hodgkin’s Disease but continued working until his death on 1 February 1988 in Melbourne.
Anderson, H 2007, Edward Fowler (Ted) Hill (1915-1988), Australian Dictionary of Biography, volume 17, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed <http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hill-edward-fowler-ted-12635>