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John James (Jack) Curran (1876–1967)

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This entry is from People Australia

John James (Jack) Curran (1876-1967) bootmaker, clerk, trade union official, Labor supporter 

Birth: 25 February 1876 at Sydney, New South Wales, son of Thomas William Curran, farmer, and Margaret, née Whitely. Marriages: (1) 15 February 1905 at St Andrew’s Presbyterian church, in Perth, Western Australia, to Amelia May Ohrt (1883-1971). They one daughter (divorced in Sydney in September 1935). (2) 1935 at Woollahra, NSW, to native-born Mary Eileen Hudson (1899-1971). Death: 11 October 1967 in hospital at Lidcombe, Sydney, New South Wales. Religion: buried with Anglican rites. 

  • Brought up Belgravia, near Orange, in central west NSW from the age of three. Educated at local public schools.
  • Rejecting father’s aspiration that he join the public service, he left home at a young age to join a shearers’ camp. Follows the ‘90 industrial war’, and, aged 14, was ‘out on strike’.
  • Returned home to Orange and served apprenticeship as bootmaker in Orange.
  • Aged 21 went to Melbourne as journeyman. Within 12 months was elected vice-president of Victorian Operative Bootmakers’ Union. Elected President, 1898.
  • Left Victoria for Western Australia about 1900-01. Elected Secretary of Coastal Operative Bootmakers (Perth) in 1901, Secretary of 8 Hours Committee 1900–1903. Secretary of Coastal Trades and Labour Council, 1904-1907 — attacked management and decisions of local arbitration court. Appointed Justice of the Peace.
  • Treasurer and director of publishing company controlling The Democrat (1904-05). Resigned as Secretary of Coastal TLC in June 1907 engaging in bitter dispute re payment of wages. About 1907 he became secretary of Metropolitan Sewerage Employees’ Union.
  • Australian Labor Party candidate, two seats in WA Legislative Assembly, East Perth, 1904, by-election and East Perth 1908, general election.
  • By 1929 he was living in Sydney. Was a bootmaker and shoe shop proprietor, then a clerk until he retired.
  • Cause of death: pulmonary oedema, cardiac failure, arteriosclerotic heart diease, fibrillation and arterial embolus.

David Black, Index to Parliamentary candidates in W.A. Elections 1890-1989 (Perth, 1991); D. J. Murphy, (ed), Labor in Politics: State Labor Parties in Australia, 1880-1920 (St Lucia, Qld, 1975); Marriage Certificate, Perth 1228/1905; photo and biography, Democrat (Perth), 13 August 1904, p 3; Morning Herald, 22 May 1907; West Australian (Perth), 20 July 1904, p 8 []; Metropolitan Sewerage Employees’ Union records; WA Post Office Directory 1907, p. 1050.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Curran, John James (Jack) (1876–1967)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 June 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Jack Curran, 1908

Jack Curran, 1908

Western Mail, 22 August 1908, p 25

Life Summary [details]


25 February, 1876
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


11 October, 1967 (aged 91)
Lidcombe, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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