Len Fox

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Len Fox

Leonard Phillips Fox

(1905-08-28)28 August 1905
Melbourne, Victoria
Died3 January 2004(2004-01-03) (aged 98)
Known forJournalism, visual arts, social activism
Spouse(s)Mona Brand

Leonard Phillips Fox (28 August 1905 – 3 January 2004) was an Australian author, journalist, social activist, and painter.

Background and early years[edit]

Fox was born in Melbourne. His uncle was the painter Emanuel Phillips Fox, who died when Len Fox was aged 10. In 1984 Fox donated a painting Sunlight Effect painted by his uncle (ca. 1889) to the National Gallery of Australia, in memory of his mother.

Fox studied science at the University of Melbourne, concurrently earning a Diploma of Education. He taught at Scotch College from 1928–32, then spent four years in Europe where he witnessed the rise of Fascism. On returning to Melbourne, he joined the Movement Against War and Fascism and the Communist Party of Australia. He was to remain a member until 1970, long after most 'comrades' had quit as a reaction to the Stalinist purges.[1]


His career as a journalist began in 1936 with a pamphlet entitled Spain!.[1]

He moved to Sydney in 1940, and immediately started writing for left-wing weeklies, starting with The Voice of State Labor. He took up painting, producing an array of left-wing propagandist posters, and covers for his many booklets, such as Australia's Guilty Men, a 32-page diatribe against (inter alia) Prime Minister Robert Menzies for his dealings with Axis countries in the early days of WWII.[2] When the State Labor Party collapsed in 1944, he took up with The Tribune where he worked from 1946 to 1955.[1][3]

In 1955 he married Mona Brand, a fellow Communist and idealist, who was to become a respected playwright. At the instigation of Wilfred Burchett, they spent 1955–56 in Hanoi, he working as a print journalist, she for Radio Hanoi.[1]

Their home for the next 50 years was a modest terrace house in Little Surrey Street, near Kings Cross,[4] in an era when the area was not fashionable. They were together when he died.[1]

Selected publications[edit]

(not included are the many dozens of pamphlets and booklets published for various left-wing organizations)

  • The Strange Story of the Eureka Flag self-published 1963
  • Depression Down Under (ed.) self-published 1977 ISBN 0-9598104-3-9
  • Old Sydney Windmills Self-published 1978 ISBN 0-9598104-5-5
  • The Aboriginals pub. Thomas Nelson (Australia) 1978 ISBN 0-17-005155-2
  • Marani in Australia with Faith Bandler, pub. Rigby, Adelaide 1980 ISBN 0-7270-1254-1
  • Broad Left, Narrow Left self-published 1982 ISBN 0-9598104-9-8
  • The Time was Ripe: A History of the Aboriginal-Australian Fellowship, 1956–69 with Faith Bandler Alternative Publishing Cooperative 1983 ISBN 0-909188-78-5
  • E Phillips Fox and His Family self-published 1985 ISBN 0-9589239-0-6
  • Depression Down Under (ed.) 2nd edition, Hale and Iremonger, 1989 ISBN 0-909497-50-8
  • Dream at a Graveside: The History of the Fellowship of Australian Writers 1928 - 1988 (ed. 1989) ISBN 0-909497-50-8
  • East Sydney Sketches Self-published 1991 ISBN 0-9589239-4-9
  • When I Was Ten: Memories of childhood 1905 - 1985 (ed. with Hilarie Lindsay 1993) Fellowship of Australian Writers ISBN 0-909497-69-9
  • Australians on the Left self-published 1996 ISBN 0-9589239-6-5
  • Glimpses of a Century self-published 2000 ISBN 1-74018-146-8


  • On guard at Eureka, 1854 was accepted for exhibition for the 1955 Sulman Prize

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Deacon, Vera (Summer 2003–04). "Farewell to Leonard Phillips Fox". The Hummer. Australian Society for the Study of Labour History. 4 (1). Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  2. ^ Anderson, Hugh (June 2001). "Len Fox alive and kicking" (PDF). The Australian Association for Maritime History. Quarterly Newsletter (83): 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  3. ^ Cahill, Rowan (22 October 1999). "How the Cunning Fox Survived". Workers Online. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  4. ^ Holder, Jo; Brand, Mona. "Comrades up the Cross: Len Fox". Kings Cross Arts Festival. The Cross Art Projects. Retrieved 19 July 2013.