1960s >> 1968 >> no-765-may-1968

Obituaries: Rolfe Everson and Jack Temple

We have recently received the sad news of the death of two old members of our companion parties abroad—Rolfe Everson of New Zealand and Jack Temple of Melbourne, Australia.

Both these comrades were tough, steadfast Socialists. Rolfe Everson, after a spell in the British Army in the First World War, escaped from eighteen months of unemployment only by taking a job shovelling coal on one of the hell-ships of the Twenties running to South America. Back on land, his activities during the General Strike brought victimisation down upon his head and he went to New Zealand, where he started something of a new life and raised a family.

Here he was impressed by the case for Socialism and threw himself into the struggle for a new society. For thirty years he was secretary of the Petone Branch of the SPNZ. He died on January 30 last and a hundred people—family, comrades, workmates—came to mourn him at his funeral.

Jack Temple was one of the pioneers of the Socialist Party of Australia. Like his comrade Bill Casey, Temple was a seaman and it was in the Seamen’s Union that these two found the support to form a Socialist group, towards the end of World War I. In those days, when most of the “radical” organisations were hailing the Russian Revolution as the dawn of Socialism, it took a lot of guts to expose, as Temple and Casey did, the fallacies of the “Communists” and others. These were not the only opponents; Temple lived through the days when, during a Waterside Workers’ strike, the Labour-controlled police in Melbourne shot dead one of the strikers.

From the group gathered by Temple and Casey the SPA was formed in Melbourne. Temple, now ashore, worked tirelessly for the party—and often proved, on the many occasions when our opponents’ only argument was to knock a man off the platform, that he could take care of himself in the physical as well as the mental sense.

Jack Temple was married to Ollie Williams, who left the SLP to join the SPA. She also was an active party worker; one of her cartoons was published in the Socialist Standard. She died some years back but Jack’s interests in Socialism, after fifty years’ hard work, did not flag.

He died on January 19 last.

The Socialist movement cannot afford to lose men like Rolfe Everson and Jack Temple. All over the world, Socialists pay tribute to them for their courage and loyalty.