Profile - John Bramwell (Jack) Miles (1888-1969)
Jack Bramwell was born in Wilton, Scotland, and after attending school he was apprenticed to a stonemason in Northern England.
In 1913 he and wife Elizabeth migrated to Queensland. Jack joined the Queensland Socialist League in 1918 and following the formation of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) in 1920, he joined the Brisbane Branch.
Jack was very active in the trade union movement, representing the Australasian Meat Industry Employees' Union and the United Operative Stonemasons' Society of Queensland on the Trades and Labor Council. He became increasingly influential in the CPA, but his ambitions were initially limited by the fact that senior positions within the party were only open to Sydney-based members. Despite this, in 1929, along with Lance Sharkey and Bert Moxon, Jack successfully gained control of the leadership of the CPA, following the annual conference.
Jack relocated to Sydney in 1931 and as part of the Central Committee, he had an enormous influence on CPA policy and ruled the party with absolute control, unafraid to expel members who didn’t tow the party line. He also had strong ambitions to enter parliament, and unsuccessfully ran for the CPA in five separate state and federal seats between 1929 and 1952.
When the CPA was banned in 1940, Jack went underground, but continued to spout strong Communist rhetoric under the pseudonym of ‘A. Mason’. However, his influence in the party was waning and in 1948 he lost the party leadership to Lance Sharkey.
Despite losing the leadership, Jack continued to be a CPA member and worked for the party, although he was criticised by many for his volatility and harsh treatment of party members.
Jack Miles died in Sydney at the age of 80.
Macintyre, S 2000, John Bramwell (Jack) Miles (1888-1969), Australian Dictionary of Biography, volume 15, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed <http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/miles-john-bramwell-jack-11120>
Australian Communist Party n.d., Jack Miles, accessed