8.1.1916 - 30.7.2016
Abraham Jerome (Jock) Levy OAM was a Sydney wharfie and communist who formed an integral part of the famous and ground breaking film unit in the WWF that was one of the first and most effective independent film making and documentary initiatives in Australia, which not only captured the great history and struggles of our unions political and industrial history but went on to inspire a new generation of independent film makers in Australia that remains a national focus today.
|Former WWF film maker Norma Disher (l) and current MUA film maker Jamie McMechan with Jock at his 100th birthday celebration|
Jock went on to make a life time of contributions to progressive artistic and campaign activity around many progressive community, industrial and political issues, remaining an important, much-loved and respected working class leader in his own right.
The union assisted in bringing the work of Jock back into focus in assisting Dr Lisa Milner bringing Jock's wonderful contributions together with Keith Gow and Norma Disher of the film unit in her book Fighting Films - the history of the Waterside Workers Federation Film Unit in 2003. Lisa herself has been a constancy in ensuring working class history is at the forefront in Australia in her own amazing body of work.
Zoe Reynolds the MUA's long term journalist was also critical in ensuring the important record of achievement of our film unit was secured.
The launch of Lisa's book at the Australian Maritime Museum, that has the famous WWF mural bequeathed by the Sydney Branch of the MUA, was in itself a great punctuation of the long progressive history embedded in our Australian values, achievements and current way of life.
The MUA digitised most of the Film Unit’s work and they remain a very sought after source of Australian working class history today and is often featured in mainstream reporting on everything from the gross exploitation of wharf labourers on the Hungry Mile, the emasculation of poverty and struggle during the depression, to the many great union campaigns for better working conditions for maritime workers, miners and many other Australian workers. That work remains an inspiration to the ongoing active recording of our union’s activities that remains central to our continuing policy to counter the ongoing lies, misinformation and constant abuse of our and other unions and members in mainstream media today. The recent Royal Commission was only the latest example of the distortions and selective facts that allow for the consistent attacks on our union movement - A political dynamic Jock and the many other contributors to the film unit set out to counter.
Digital copies of the Film Unit’s work is available to everyone, both through the archives and online.
Jock will be greatly missed and the union will extend our deepest sympathies to Jock's family and many friends and comrades.
Funeral Details: Friday, August 5th 2016 at 10:00 am at the South Chapel, Eastern Suburbs Crematorium, 11 Military Road Matraville.
At Jock's 100th birthday, he spoke to Jamie McMechan and Norma Disher at length: