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Burke, Nathaniel Willie (Bill) (1889–1970)

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This entry is from People Australia

Nathaniel Willie (Bill) Burke (1889-1970) postal worker and trade union leader 

Birth: 2 November 1889 at Hartley Vale, New South Wales, son of Nathaniel Burke, miner later caretaker, and Lucy Jane, née Giblett. Marriage: 9 October 1912 at Annandale, Sydney to native-born Julia Ann McKenzie (1887-1970). They had two daughters. Death: 8 August 1970 in hospital at Beverly Hills, NSW. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • Appointed after a competitive examination to the Postmaster-General’s Department, NSW branch, as telegraph messenger on probation at Burraga on 26 May 1904. On 10 February 1907 he was promoted to assistant mail boy at Petersham, Sydney.
  • Assistant secretary of the Australian Letter Carriers’ Association, NSW branch, 1912-25. General secretary in 1924-25, in lead up to amalgamation.
  • From 1925 to 1929 was assistant secretary, NSW branch, Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union (APWU). Secretary APWU, NSW branch 1929-1947. General Secretary-Treasurer, APWU of Australia from 1947 to 1955. Editor of union journal. Research and industrial officer for union, 1956.
  • At various times was prominent in Annandale and Lakemba branches of Australian Labor Party. In 1931, was vice-president of the ALP Reid Electoral Council.
  • Awarded the British Empire Medal in June 1960.
  • Cause of death cancer of bronchus, pyelocystitis.

Sources
The Postal Advocate
, January 1956, August 1970; Labor Daily (Sydney), 13 January 1927; Labor Year Book, 1934/5; Frank Waters [Denis Murphy ed], Postal unions and politics: a history of the Amalgamated Postal Workers Union of Australia (St Lucia, 1978).

Citation details

'Burke, Nathaniel Willie (Bill) (1889–1970)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://labouraustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/burke-nathaniel-willie-bill-32925/text41013, accessed 29 November 2022.

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