From the Oral History collection: Andrew Moffat
From the Oral History Collection: Andrew Moffat (Political activism spawned by the Great Depression)
Andrew Moffat was born in Marrickville, Sydney, in 1914, and was recorded, at the age of 96, for a pilot oral history project about rank-and-file political party activists being run by the museum in cooperation with the National Library of Australia. The pilot project looks at ‘rusted on’ party activists who never sought personal advancement or high office from their involvement in a party branch.
Mr Moffat was active in Sydney’s Greenacre branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in the late 1950s and 1960s. Like many ALP members of his generation, he was also active in the trade union movement and had become attracted to socialism as a result of his experiences and observations during the Depression of the 1930s. As he puts it in this excerpt from the interview: “I saw people thrown out of their homes … I thought there’s got to be a better way than this”. It’s interesting to listen to Mr Moffat’s voice and idiom. He refers to “the kellies” on the trams, meaning the unpopular Inspectors who would check to make sure passengers had paid their fares. The reference to “kellies” suggests that such inspectors extracted fares from unpaying passengers with all the determination of the Kelly Gang.
Andrew Moffat was recorded for the Museum’s Oral History Program by Dr Barry York in 2011. The full interview is not currently available online but is available upon request at the Museum of Australian Democracy. Please contact the museum prior to your visit and quote the reference number OHI 222.