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Joliot-Curie Silver Peace Medal awarded to Australian Bill Morrow in 1959

Object type

Object number

Silver medal on blue ribbon. One side has profile of Prof Joliot-Curie and the dates `1949 and `1959'. The Reverse has a dove and the words `Conseil Mondial De La Paix'.

Collection name
Bill Morrow collection

Collection statement of significance
This collection comprises a gold International Lenin Peace Prize medal, an International Lenin Peace Prize certificate and silver Joliot-Curie Peace Medal. Dated 7 April 1961, the Lenin medal and certificate were awarded to "William Morrow Australian Public leader" "for outstanding services in the struggle for the preservation and strengthening of peace". Formerly the World Peace Council's Medal of Peace, named in honor of Nobel laureate and French physicist, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, the Joliot-Curie Peace Medal was presented to Bill Morrow in 1959. Both medals honor men and women who contribute to strengthening peaceful co-existence among nations. On receipt of this award, Bill Morrow joined an illustrious group of medal recipients, including Fidel Castro, Paul Robeson, Pablo Picasso, Charles Chaplin, Angela Davis, Indira Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

Born in Rockhampton, Queensland, little-known Australian, William "Bill" Morrow (1888-1980), spent his early life as a railway worker, qualifiying as an Engine Driver in1911. His political experience began with his membership of state and national railway workers' unions, culminating in his election as Senior vice-President of the Australian Railway Union (ARU) in 1937. An active supporter of the peace movement and an outspoken opponent of military conscription, Bill's internationalist and socialist views and his open criticism of the Tasmanian Labor Government eventually led to his expulsion from the Australian Labor Party. After reversing his anti-war position following Russia's invasion by Germany, he was readmitted to the Labor Party in 1942 and later elected to the post of Tasmanian Labor Senator from 1947 until 1952. However, Bill's continued opposition to compulsory national service and to Australia's involvement in the Korean War, as well as his calls for Australia's recognition of the People's Republic of China, caused his final split with the Labor party in 1953. Thereafter, he devoted himself to working and promoting international peace and nuclear disarmament. Elected with activist, Jessie Street, to the World Peace Council Bureau, Bill attended World Peace Council Conferences in Budapest, Helsinki and Colombo, and visited Eastern Europe, China and Britain. In 1958, the New South Wales Peace Council formally recommended that Bill be nominated for the Lenin prize. When American concert singer, scholar and Civil Rights Activist, Paul Robeson, toured Australia in 1960, Bill, then in his seventies, organised for him to visit and to sing for workers at the Sydney Opera House construction site. Bill attended his last WPC meeting in 1961 in India. After resigning from official duties following his wife's death in 1963, Bill remained an active member of the Australia China Friendship Society, and made several trips to China, until his death on 12 July 1980.

World Peace Council

Production date

Mr William 'Bill' Morrow

Associated person/organisation
Congress for International Co-operation (Melbourne 1959)

Place of event
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Date awarded

Metal - non specific, Textile - non specific

Length: 47mm
Width: 30mm

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