Labour Australia

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Daniel William (Dan) Downey (1894–1956)

This article was published:

This entry is from People Australia

Downey, Daniel William Alexander (Dan) (1894-1956) builders’ labourer and trade union official 

Birth: 1894 at West Birchip, Victoria, son of native-born parents William Daniel Downey (1852-1932), labourer, and Florence Jane Munro (1860-1947). Marriage: 2 December 1916 at St Canice’s Church, Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, to Elsie May Atkinson (1895-1963). They had one daughter and two sons. Death: 15 April 1956 at Naremburn, NSW. Religion: Catholic. 

  • During his youth his parents moved the family to Sydney.
  • Dan was working as a gear hand, builder’s labourer, and living at Paddington when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 30 October 1916. While serving in France as a driver with the 15th Field Company Engineers he was wounded in action (gas poisoning) on 1 September 1918. He returned to Australia in January 1919 and was discharged medically unfit on 11 April 1919. His war injuries caused frequent hospitalisation late in life.
  • Financial member of the Builders Laborers Federation (BLF) for 45 years, occupying positions of State treasurer and vice-president; president of the NSW branch for almost 40 years.
  • Also served as Federal President BLF and president NSW Building Trades Group.
  • One-time member Australian Labor Party State central executive.

Builders’ Labourers’ Journal
, June 1956.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Downey, Daniel William (Dan) (1894–1956)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 May 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Birchip, Victoria, Australia


15 April, 1956 (aged ~ 62)
Naremburn, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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.

Military Service
Key Organisations
Political Activism