Rawling, James Normington

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Rawling, James Normington

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  • J Normington-Rawling

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Dates of existence

1898 - 1966


James Normington Rawling, political activist and writer, was born on 27 July 1898 at Plattsburg, New South Wales. Rawling served with the Australian Imperial Force from 1916-1919. In 1920 he trained as a teacher and worked in the NSW Education Department. He worked in the steel industry in Newcastle for a number of years. He was involved in reorganising a Rationalist Association in Sydney in 1923 and in 1925 joined the Communist Party of Australia (CPA). In 1928 Rawling returned to a teaching position in Sydney and completed his BA. In 1932 he became a full-time functionary of the CPA. In the same year he became editor of the journal, World Survey, of the League Against Imperialism (LAI). In 1933 Rawling became editor of War! What For?, the journal of the Movement Against War and Fascism (MAWF) and continued to edit the journal and its successor, World Peace, until the end of 1939. He was appointed National Secretary of MAWF in November 1936. From 1934 he worked as a research officer to the Central Committe of the CPA. In this capacity he prepared speakers' notes, wrote articles for The Communist Review, Workers' Weekly, other publications and pamphlets. He gave lectures and talks on European and Australian history and anti-war matters. In December 1939 Rawling was expelled from the CPA. For the next five years Rawling worked as a temporary clerk with the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board, and was Secretary of the Salaried Division of the Metropolitan Water and Sewerage Employees' Union. In 1945 he resumed teaching, mostly in private schools until 1960 when he rejoined the Education Department. During the 1940s and 1950s he studied early Australian literary history which culminated in the publication of his biography, Charles Harpur: An Australian in 1962. In 1962-63, as a visiting fellow at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, he worked on his history of the CPA entitled Communism Comes to Australia. Rawling died on 7 March 1966 in Sydney.


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author; political activist; teacher

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Entered from deposit description on 14 October 2011




Australian Dictionary of Biography, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/rawling-james-normington-11492 (accessed on 14 October 2011)

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