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George Henry Neilly (1917–1987)

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This entry is from People Australia

George Henry Neilly (1917-1987) labor politician

Birth: 3 March 1917, Kurri Kurri, New South Wales. Son of Thomas William Neilly, carter, and Elsie nee Fenwick. Marriage: Lola Wood, 1942. They had one son and one daughter. Death: 6 May 1987, Cessnock, New South Wales.

  • Grandfather, George Neilly snr, a member of Delegate Board of Colliery Employees' Federation, was gaoled during 1909-10 coal strike and subsequently forced to leave mining after suffering serious back injury at Pelaw main.
  • G. Neilly jnr educated at Maitland High on scholarship.
  • Entered mines 1934.
  • Served RAN 1939-44, HMAS Australia, stoker;
  • Secretary, Abermain RSL 1944-46. Secretary, Abermain No.1 miners' lodge 19?;
  • Industrial advocate for Miners' Federation.
  • Joined Labor Party 1949.
  • During latter stages of 1949 coal strike played prominent part in move against continuance of strike;
  • 1950 defeated Jim Comerford for presidency of Northern District of Miners' Federation; January 1954 elected general secretary of Federation, retaining position until February 1959 (did not seek re-election);
  • aggressively anti-communist, but during presidency worked amicably with communist general president Bill Parkinson, permitting a positive and effective union stance on industrial and most political issues.
  • Member, Labor Party central executive 1953-54. Member, Legislative Council, NSW, September 1954 (casual vacancy)—February 1959 (resigned); Member, Legislative Assembly, NSW, for Cessnock March 1959-78.

Heather Radi, Peter Spearrit and Elizabeth Hinton, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); Edgar Ross, A History of the Miners' Federation of Australia (Sydney, 1970); Andrew Metcalfe, For Freedom and Dignity: Historical agency and class structures in the coalfields of NSW (Sydney 1988). 

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Neilly, George Henry (1917–1987)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


3 March, 1917
Kurri Kurri, New South Wales, Australia


6 May, 1987 (aged 70)
Cessnock, New South Wales, Australia

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
Key Events
Key Organisations
Political Activism