November’s guest speaker was Vintage Red member Penny Lockwood.
Penny spoke about her father Rupert Lockwood (1908-97), a respected journalist who became prominent during the Cold War at the time of the Petrov affair in the mid-1950s.
[Photo by Jack Hickson: Rupert Lockwood at the Royal Commission on Espionage, 1955. Mitchell Library, NSW]
Lockwood came from a Chartist family, and his father ran the West Wimmera Mail. He moved to Melbourne, working on the Herald (a Murdoch paper, like the Wimmera paper in later years), which sent him to Spain in 1937, and then called him back to a job in the Canberra press gallery. After he called Robert Menzies “Pig Iron Bob” in 1938, during the dispute between Menzies and waterside workers who objected to being forced to load iron to be shipped to Japan, he was recalled to Melbourne to administrative work.
Rupert Lockwood was a well-known member of the Communist Party of Australia, dating from the early 1940s. His involvement in the Petrov affair caused him a lot of grief, and the affair was also instrumental in bringing down Dr H.V. Evatt, the Labor opposition leader. In later years he worked for the CPA Tribune, and edited the Maritime Worker, the waterside workers’ newspaper. Late in his life the Australian Journalists’ Association gave him an award; he was a longtime member and helped draft the association’s code of ethics in 1941.