People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Beitz, John Christian (Jack) (1905–1967)

This article was published:

John Christian (Jack) Beitz (1905-1967), wharf labourer and trade union leader 

Birth: 16 June 1905 at Port Adelaide, South Australia, son of Christina Jane Anderson. No father was recorded on the birth certificate, but his putative father was Prussian-born James Charles Beitz, wharf labourer. Marriage: 11 March 1933 at the Registrar General’s office, Adelaide, to Jean Gertrude Cameron. They had a son and a daughter. Death: 15 December 1967 in Sydney and buried in Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Educated at Marist Brothers’ College and St Joseph’s School, Port Adelaide.
  • Started working life in flour industry working for Thomas Flour Mills.
  • Flour Millers Union delegate to Port Adelaide Trades and Labor Council. In 1922 elected President, Port Adelaide TLC.
  • In 1942 worked on Port Adelaide wharves, and joined the Waterside Workers’ Federation on 11 June 1942. In July 1943 elected President, Port Adelaide Branch, WWF, and delegate to Federation’s Biennial Conference. In 1949 elected President WWF, also serving as president of Port Adelaide branch. In 1954 his position made full-time.
  • Represented WWF in Japan, China, and New Zealand. Visited NZ during 1951 waterside workers strike to convey solidarity of Australian unionists.
  • Active member of the Australian Labor Party, having joined when aged 16 years. Regarded as ‘right’ candidate when he defeated Sydney branch’s Jim ‘Dutchy’ Young in 1949-50.
  • Died in office. Cause of death coronary occlusion.

Sources
Margo Beasley, Wharfies: the history of the Waterside Workers’ Federation (Rushcutters Bay, 1996; Maritime Worker, 27 March 1968; Seamen’s Journal, n.d.; Tribune 17 January 1968. 

Additional Resources

  • profile, News (Adelaide), 27 February 1929, p 8

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Beitz, John Christian (Jack) (1905–1967)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/beitz-john-christian-jack-32234/text39881, accessed 5 February 2023.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012