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John Durack (1870–1941)

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This entry is from People Australia

John Durack (1870-1941) tailor, trade union official and industrial inspector 

Birth: 1870 in County Clare, Ireland, son of Patrick Durack, farmer, and Katherine, née Toohey. Marriage: 17 February 1903 at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, New South Wales, to Bridget Noonan (1871-1939), born in Galway, Ireland. They had a daughter and two sons. Death: 15 August 1941 at Dulwich Hill, Sydney. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Arrived in colony about 1903.
  • Worked as a tailor, in Sydney.
  • Secretary of Amalgamated Journeyman Tailors' Association, NSW, (AJTA) c.1901-1911. Supported organisation of 'order' tailoresses by AJTA following 1901 tailoresses' strike.
  • Sympathetic to Australian Socialist League but did not encourage 'political' activity.
  • Elected first Federal secretary of the Federated Clothing Trades Union in 1907, but federation did not flourish under his secretaryship and in 1909 the S.A. Branch protested his ' the administration of that office'. In 1911 he was replaced as NSW branch secretary and Federal secretary by Jack Crombie.
  • Joined the Department of Labour and Industry as an industrial inspector. Worked all over the State enforcing industrial awards. Retired in January 1935.
  • Cause of death: carcinoma of stomach.

Bradon Ellem, In women’s hands? A history of clothing trades unionism in Australia (Sydney, 1989).

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Citation details

'Durack, John (1870–1941)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Clare, Ireland


15 August, 1941 (aged ~ 71)
Dulwich Hill, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (stomach)

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism