Thomas Laidler was one of the many noted Socialists who lived in Northcote and Preston during the early 1900s. After a career in mining Laidler joined the Bourke Street Bookstore, a centre for socialist and radical literature in Australasia.
The bookstore became a magnet for social and communist activists and Laidler played a role in establishing the Communist Party of Australia in 1920. The party soon collapsed but Laidler did not cease his political activities. He was President of the Victorian Labor College, and active in the trade union movement.
During the Second World War Laidler lectured on the Soviet Union and socialism at the request of the Prime Minister Curtin.
Laidler died in his Preston home in 1958.
Australian Dictionary of Biography, 1851 – 1890. pub. 1969