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Joseph Justin (Joe) Peterken (1882–1962)

This article was published:

This entry is from People Australia

Joe Peterken, caricature by Dick Ovenden, 1925

Joe Peterken, caricature by Dick Ovenden, 1925

Labor Call (Melbourne), 17 December 1925, p 2

Joseph Justin (Joe) Peterken (1882-1962) postal line repairer and trade union official

Birth: 3 July 1882 at The Springs, Bungaree, near Ballarat, Victoria, son of Alexander Peterken (1819-1887), a baker, born at Limehouse, Middlesex, England, and Mary Eliza, née Griffiths (1828-1911), born at Holyhead, Anglesey, Wales, United Kingdom. Marriage: 1905 at Ballarat to Jane Emily (Dolly) Coutts (1883-1967). The had one daughter and three sons. Death: 10 October 1962 in his usual residence at Thornbury, Victoria. 

  • Worked as a line repairer.
  • From about 1914 he held various positions, including secretary, in the Australian Postal Linesmen's Union which amalgamated with the Australian Letter Carriers Association and Postal Sorters Union of Australia in 1925 to form the Amalgamated Postal Linemen's, Sorters’ and Letter Carriers’ Association. He became first secretary of the Victorian branch of the new union which, from 1926, was known as the Amalgamated Postal Workers' Union (APWU). He held the post until he retired in 1947.
  • Represented union at numerous conferences, on deputations at parliamentary and administrative level and on various committees of the Melbourne Trades Hall Council.
  • Director of Industrial Printing and Publicity Ltd in 1929.
  • Member of Northcote branch of the Australian Labor Party.
  • Cause of death: bronchopneumonia, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Merrifield Card Index, La Trobe Library, Melbourne; Australian Worker, 30 December 1925 p 1; Postal Advocate, 1962; Fact, 25 October 1962, p 4; Postal Worker, November 1962 p 7; ALP Victorian Branch Central Executive Report 1962-63; Frank Waters [Denis Murphy, ed.] Postal unions and politics: a history of the Amalgamated Postal Workers Union of Australia (St Lucia, 19780.

Additional Resources

  • profile, Labor Call (Melbourne), 17 December 1925, p 2
  • photo, Labor Daily (Sydney), 26 October 1927, p 6
  • photo, Labor Call (Melbourne), 1 December 1938, p 1
  • photo, Labor Call (Melbourne), 29 February 1940, p 4

Citation details

'Peterken, Joseph Justin (Joe) (1882–1962)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Joe Peterken, caricature by Dick Ovenden, 1925

Joe Peterken, caricature by Dick Ovenden, 1925

Labor Call (Melbourne), 17 December 1925, p 2

Life Summary [details]


3 July, 1882
Bungaree, Victoria, Australia


10 October, 1962 (aged 80)
Thornbury, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death


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.

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