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Thomas Glynn (1881–1934)

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

The death of Mr. Thomas Glynn at Lidcombe Hospital yesterday removes a sincere and steadfast fighter who served the Australian Labor Movement staunchly and selflessly during one of the momentous periods in its long history. Tom Glynn's name will forever be identified with the great anti-conscription fight of 1916.

Born in England 62 years ago, Mr. Glynn when a youth went to the Boer war, but early his inherent love of freedom manifested itself.

During the campaign he was punished for his point-blank refusal to shoot a kaffir at the behest of his superior officer.

Remaining in South Africa Mr. Glynn followed the profession of journalism, and his pungent satires on capitalist society made him a valued contributor to radical newspapers. On arrival in Australia Mr. Glynn became a prominent industrialist, and he conducted an energetic campaign in an effort to induce trade unions to organise along the lines of industry instead of on craft lines.

In 1916, Mr. Glynn became editor of the I.W.W. paper, "Direct Action," and a few weeks after the passing of the "War Precautions Act the executive of the vigorous journal became the target for a series of prosecutions by the Nationalist Federal Government.

Then came the first conscription campaign, and the stalwart Glynn threw himself into the fight with great enthusiasm.

In November, 1916, along with 11 other members of the I.W.W, Glynn was charged with treason, which charge was altered to conspiracy. He was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment, but on appeal the term was reduced to 10 years.

Disquieting rumors about the conduct of leading Crown witnesses filled the city, and the Storey Labor Government appointed a Royal Commission presided over by Mr. Justice Ewing to investigate the I.W.W. cases. The result was that Glynn was found to have been gaoled unjustly, and along with nine comrades he was released in September, 1920, after having served four years.

When released it was seen that Glynn's health had been affected by his confinement, and up to the time of his death he suffered greatly from internal trouble and neuritis. Towards the end he was partially paralysed.

Mr. Glynn contributed many fine articles to "The Labor Daily," revealing his comprehensive knowledge and keen grasp of Labor problems.

The deceased stalwart leaves a widow and three children.. The funeral leaves Labor Motor Funeral parlors, Crown Street, city, at 2 p.m. to-day for the Catholic portion of Botany cemetery.

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Citation details

'Glynn, Thomas (1881–1934)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 June 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Thomas Glynn, 1916

Thomas Glynn, 1916

Sydney Mail, 18 October 1916, p 7

Life Summary [details]


1 April, 1881
Clough, Galway, Ireland


3 December, 1934 (aged 53)
Lidcombe, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

kidney disease

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.

Military Service
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