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Charles James Geelan (1896–1979)

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This entry is from People Australia

Charles James Geelan (1896-1979) ironworker, trade union official and Communist

Birth: 1896 at Braidwood, New South Wales, son of native-born Francis Robert Geelan (1862-1932) and Mary, née Connelly (1862-1941), probably born in County Clare, Ireland.  Marriage: 7 November 1918 at St Barnabas Anglican Church, Sydney, to native-born Mabel Dorothy Swan (1896-1989). They had two daughters. Death: 25 February 1979 in a nursing home at Annandale, Sydney. 

  • Began work at railway workshops at Randwick about 1915. A leader of shop boy’s strike 1915 and actively involved in 1917 strike.
  • Active in Federated Ironworkers’ Association for thirty-four years, filling numerous positions including delegate to State and Federal councils. Sydney branch president for seven years. President of central council of Railway Shop Committees for fourteen years.
  • White Bay shop committee president. President White Bay Sick and Accident Fund, president White Bay Power House Sports and Social Club.
  • Geelan was a Communist Party of Australia activist and an acolyte of Ernie Thornton’s.
  • Played hooker for Annandale and Glebe rugby league teams for sixteen years.
  • Retired, medically unfit, in 1949.

, June 1949; Labor News, September 1949; Robert Murray and Kate White, The ironworkers: a history of the Federated Ironworkers’ Association of Australia (Sydney, c1982) p 116 [where he is named as “Col Geelan”].

Additional Resources

  • photo, Daily News (Sydney), 11 November 1939, p 3

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Geelan, Charles James (1896–1979)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 June 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Braidwood, New South Wales, Australia


25 February, 1979 (aged ~ 83)
Annandale, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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