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John Ignatius (Jack) Abfalter (1881–1967)

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John Ignatius (Jack) Abfalter (1881-1967) trade union official

Born: 1881, Clare, South Australia, Married: Lucy Ethel McCartie in New Zealand in 1909. They had two sons. Died: 1967, Surrey Hills, Melbourne, Victoria.

  • 1904 moved to New Zealand to work as conductor and later motorman with Auckland Electric Tramway Company.
  • Accomplished athlete, played Australian Rules in South Australia and New Zealand, representing New Zealand in 1908 Australian Rules tour of Australia. Also played rugby with Ponsonby Tramway Football Club.
  • 1909 worked for Cable Tramways, Melbourne, attached to Fitzroy Sheds as conductor;
  • 1910, appointed motorman in new electric Prahran and Malvern Tramways Trust.
  • 1910 (November) seconded motion to form Union of Tramway Employees at meeting at Malvern, Victoria. Nominated as secretary of union but declined, instead becoming a member of union executive, 1910-1931.
  • 1915 (September) resigned from tramway job to take up full-time industrial duties as advocate and organiser.
  • Australian Tramways Employees' Association General Secretary, 1936-1946 and General President 1932-1942. Retired from union positions in 1947.
  • Highly regarded in Australian and New Zealand tramway circles, visited every tramway system in Australia. Appeared before most arbitration court judges since H.B. Higgins. ‘Fearless fighter in the interests of tramway workers’.

Tramway Record, 25 February 1926; 14 March 1947; July 1956; July 1967

* both sons predeceased their father. Patrick died on 26th March 1945 as a POW, World War II

Citation details

'Abfalter, John Ignatius (Jack) (1881–1967)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 July 2024.

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