Welcome to the Queensland Parliament web site - accessibility access keys available by clicking here or by using access key 9, sitemap available under access key 2Skip to Main Content or by using access key 0View Access KeysGo to sitemapGo to useful linksGo to contact usGo to latest sitting weekGo to current members listView Access KeysRemote Access


Paterson, Frederick Woolnough (Fred)

View print friendly version


Birth Date: 13 June 1897 (Gladstone, Queensland, Australia)

Death Date: 7 October 1977 (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia)

Parents: William Paterson and Edith (nee Jeffreys)

Family: (2) Kathleen Claire on 30 March 1932, (1) Lucy Ethel Blackman on 11 April 1924, 2 sons (divorced 1931)

Education: Gladstone Primary School; Rockhampton Grammar School; Brisbane Grammar School; Scholarship to University of Queensland, 1915; Queensland Rhodes Scholar, 1918; Bachelor of Arts, 1919; Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Oxford University, 1922 (not conferred as refused to pay fee)


Civil liberties and radical court advocate; First Editor and Chairman, Editorial Board, North Queensland Guardian; Barrister, Townsville and part-time Bowen waterside worker, 1933 to 1944; Admitted to Queensland Bar, 1931; Pig farmer, Gladstone, 1926 to 1929; Caboolture, 1929; Organiser, Workers Educational Association, 1925; School master, East Brisbane, Brisbane Boys Grammar School; Employed, Oxford House, Church of England, East End London

Party Positions:

  1. (ALP) Member, Australian Labor Party, 1 Jan 1923 - 1 Jan 1925
  2. (COM) Member, Communist Party, 1 Jan 1923

Local Government Service: Alderman, Townsville City Council, 1939 to 1944; Member, Gladstone Town Council, 1927 to 1928

Military Service: Great War: Enlisted January 1918. Served in AIF 1918 to 1919, joining 15th Battalion, located briefly in France. Whilst in service, he was involved in two food related strikes, which were both successful. In January 1919 he asked to be reverted from corporal back to private

Parliamentary Representation:

House Party Electorate From To Elected/Departure Reason
Assembly COM Bowen 15 Apr 1944 29 Apr 1950

Additional Information

Notes: Mr Paterson was the first and only Communist Party member of an Australian parliament. He continually demonstrated his concerns for the `battler' with the many legal briefs he was engaged in on behalf of workers, trade unionists, Aborigines and the Communist Party. In his maiden speech on 23 Aug 1944, he presented a vision of his country free from hunger and poverty

Publications: Henderson, J. (1986). The Election of Communist Fred Paterson to Queensland Parliament / Jim Henderson., Paterson, FW, Speeches in Parliament, Australian Communist Party, Sydney, 1944, pp. 31

Sources: Image courtesy of Queensland Guaridan Newspaper, 21 April 1944 pp. 1; Fitzgerald, Ross, Fred Paterson: Australia's Only Communist Party Member of Parliament: The People's Champion, (University of Queensland Press), p. 53; Nebauer, John, `Australia's First Communist MP', Green Left News, 4 December 1995; Southorn, E., The Courier-Mail, 'Labor could learn from Red Fred: ex-minister', 11 April 1996; Brisbane Labour History Association, Fred Paterson: A Personal History, (Spotpress Pty Ltd, NSW, 1994); Fitzgerald, Ross, The Courier-Mail, 'Day of shame', 16 Mar 1996; Menghetti, Diane, 'Paterson, Frederick Woolnough (Fred) (1897–1977)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/paterson-frederick-woolnough-fred-11349; Brisbane Courier, 28 Feb 1930; Waterson, DB and John Arnold, A Biographical Register of the Queensland Parliament: 1930-1980, (Canberra: ANU Press, 1982); Ritchie, J, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. 15: 1940-1980, Kem-Pie (Melbourne, Vic: Melbourne University Press), pp. 574-576; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Paterson

[Last Modified: Monday, 22 October 2018]