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Conlon, Francis John (Frank) (1885–1954)

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

Mr Frank J. P. Conlon, who died in a private ward in the General Hospital on Sunday last after a long illness, devoted his life to the industrial and political wings of the Labour movement. He was 68 years of age and was born in Rockhampton.

At an early age Mr Conlon was in the forefront of an agitation for an eight-hour day and he saw its realisation, culminating in an annual celebration later, in which he held an executive position.

His driving force, until sickness took its toll of recent years, was evidenced in different branches of the Labour movement.

He was better known as secretary of the Central District branch of the Road Transport Workers' Union, a post that he filled for almost 30 years. He was also one of the union's representatives on the Federal Council of the union.

Mr Conlon was a firm believer in the principle of conciliation and arbitration in industrial disputes and he put those precepts into practice. He often remarked: "My job is to keep members of my union in work; strikes don't pay." He earned the highest respect of the Arbitration Court for the manner in which he presented a case for his union.

He was a foundation member of the Trades Hall Board and secretary for a long term; a member of the Rockhampton Hospitals Board, and deputy chairman from its formation; a member of the Rockhampton Trades and Labour Council since its inception and president until recent years; president of the Allenstown branch of the Fitzroy A.L.P. for 38 years; delegate to various Labour political organisations; former member of the Rockhampton Harbour Board; and union representative on various public bodies.

He is survived by his widow. The large attendance at his funeral yesterday testified to the esteem in which he is held.

Mr A. Baunach. secretary of the Central Boys branch of the ALP, writes: "It is with regret that I have, on behalf of members of the Central Boys' branch of the ALP and myself personally to pay tribute to the memory of such an old stalwart of the Australian Labour Party as Frank Conlon. With the passing of Frank, we lose one of the most outspoken men. No man had a greater regard of membership than he. Since the old W.P.O. days until last Friday when I had the honour of issuing him with his 1954 ticket, he was a continuous member of the movement. No man in the movement brought on himself such hostility as Frank did by his debates as to how the movement should be run and never since I joined the movement in 1918 have I had more disagreements with a member than with Frank, but he thought he was right and I and all others, whilst disagreeing with him on various occasions always admired him for his courage and ability to put his case, no matter what the odds. I once heard Frank Forde say that in his world's travel he had seen no better chairman than Frank Conlon and with this I think we will all agree. It is sad to think that we leave it too late to voice our appreciation of a comrade, but who can fortell coming events. So, I say, Frank, old friend, despite the rebuffs in life, your work has been worth while. You have left this world much better off than when you entered it and our hope is that your efforts will induce others to take up the battle of humanity. Your's was an effort worth while.

Original Publication

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Citation details

'Conlon, Francis John (Frank) (1885–1954)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://labouraustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/conlon-francis-john-frank-33081/text41248, accessed 29 January 2023.

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