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Francis John (Frank) Hourigan (1852–1901)

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

We regret exceedingly to have to record the death of Mr. Francis John Hourigan, one of the most popular members of the House of Assembly. The deceased gentleman was taken ill at Parliament House on Friday evening, when he was found to be suffering from hemorrhage of the stomach, following the rupture of a blood vessel. He was removed to his home at Bowden, but expired on the following Sunday morning. He was attended in his last moments by Rev. Father Hourigan.

Mr. Hourigan was greatly respected for his unfailing courtesy and suavity of manner. His speeches were always listened to with the greatest attention, for they were always carefully prepared and clearly delivered and the note of conviction was always dominant. He was a strong advocate for social and political reform, and devoted special attention to the question of land taxation, his addresses marking him as one of the ablest debaters in the House. During his term in Parliament—he was first elected for West Torrens in 1893, and sat continuously since then—the Speaker told his fellow-members that he had never had occasion to call Mr. Hourigan to order, and this can be said of but very few members in the House.

Mr. Hourigan was but forty-nine years of age. He was born at Limerick, Ireland, and arrived in South Australia with his parents in 1859. After a short residence at North Adelaide his father settled at Hindmarsh, the town in which the deceased so long resided. Mr. Hourigan served his apprenticeship as a tanner's beamsman at the establishment of the late Mr. John Dench, Hindmarsh, and worked steadily at his trade up to the time he entered Parliament. The deceased gentleman was instrumental in establishing a class at the School of Mines and Industries for teaching chemistry as applied to tanning, and he strenuously endeavored to remove the embargo placed on colonial leather by the Home Government. Mr. Hourigan was one of the first to help in the establishment of the Tanners and Curriers' Union, and was its earliest president, holding that office for eighteen months. During his first term of office in 1890 the tanners and curriers went on strike for the adoption of the eight hours system, which could not be brought about owing to a disagreement with respect to the manner of conducting the work in the beam house. Mr. Hourigan piloted the union through the strike, which lasted six weeks, and received a handsome honorarium from the union in recognition of his services. In connection with this strike a conference was arranged between the Trades and Labor Council and the Employers' Union, and Mr. Hourigan represented the workers, whose position was upheld by the granting of their demands. Mr. Hourigan was complimented by representatives of the master tanners for the able manner he had presented the case of the men. He was an ex-vice-president and president of the Trades and Labor Council, and has filled the office of president and secretary of the Working Men's Patriotic Association, North Adelaide, and various societies at Hindmarsh. Mr. Hourigan also represented Bowdem Ward in the Hindmarsh Corporation.

The funeral took place on Tuesday, when a very large attendance of legislators and friends were present to pay their last token of respect to the deceased. The President of the Legislative Council, the Speaker, and nearly every member of both Houses of Parliament were present. Rev. Father Adamson conducted the service at the grave. Mr. Hourigan leaves a wife and two children, for whom the utmost sympathy is felt. R.I.P.

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Citation details

'Hourigan, Francis John (Frank) (1852–1901)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Frank Hourigan, sketch

Frank Hourigan, sketch

Southern Cross (Adelaide), 6 December 1901, p 10

Life Summary [details]


27 May, 1852
Limerick, Ireland


1 December, 1901 (aged 49)
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

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