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Robert (Bob) Mahony (1872–1961)

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This entry is from People Australia

Robert Mahony, n.d.

Robert Mahony, n.d.

Robert ('old Bob') Mahony (1872-1961) boilermaker, trade union leader and politician

Birth: 3 October 1872, Kinsale, Cork, Ireland. Son of William Mahony, shipwright, and Bridget nee Manning. Marriage: 17 July 1893 in Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales, to Margaret Jane Kennedy. They had four sons and four daughters. Death. 8 February 1961, Balmain, Sydney. Religion: Roman Catholic. 

  • Arrived in Sydney with parents and siblings aboard the Northern Monarch on 14 September 1882;
  • Educated at St. Augustine’s convent, Balmain;
  • Apprenticed as boilermaker;
  • Foundation member and first secretary, Ship Painters and Dockers’ Union 1900-1915;
  • Union delegate to Sydney Labor Council 1900;
  • Helped found Federated Ship, Painters and Dockers' Union, gen. sec. 1915-45, life member;
  • In 1891 at its inaugural meeting was elected president of the Balmain Labor League (Australian Labor Party);
  • Prominent in anti-conscription campaign;
  • Campaign director for John Storey;
  • Member of Legislative Council, NSW, 1921-61; Public Works Committee 1922-30; Whip in Legislative Council 1922-61;
  • Delegate to TLC for 20 years; Chairman, Disputes Committee 1917; appointed Justice of the Peace in 1911;
  • Pres. Eight Hour Day committee 1916, trustee many years;
  • Trustee Balmain Workingmen’s Institute;
  • Patron, president and life member Balmain Rugby League;
  • Worked for St John Ambulance Assn.;
  • Brother of William George Mahony MHR 1915-17;
  • At his death was reputed to be the last surviving foundation member of the ALP.

Heather Radi, Peter Spearrit and Elizabeth Hinton, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); Painter and Docker, Aug.-Sept. 1974; Issy Wyner, With Banner Unfurled: the early years of the Ship Painters and Dockers Union (Sydney, c.1983), p.20, p.154-173

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Mahony, Robert (Bob) (1872–1961)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Robert Mahony, n.d.

Robert Mahony, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


3 October, 1872
Kinsale, Cork, Ireland


8 February, 1961 (aged 88)
Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (prostate)

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.

Passenger Ship
Key Organisations
Political Activism