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Burke, Francis Joseph (Frank) (1884–1948)

This article was published:

Frank Burke, Fairfax Corporation, c.1925

Frank Burke, Fairfax Corporation, c.1925

National Library of Australia, 51892830

Francis Joseph Augustine (Frank) Burke (1884-1948) bookbinder, trade union leader 

Birth: 1884 in North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria, son of native-born Patrick Joseph Burke (c.1850-1909), upholsterer, and Mary, née Donaghy (1853-1929), who was born in Armagh, Ireland. Unmarried: Death: 5 August 1948 at North Fitzroy, Melbourne. Religion: Catholic. 

  • About 1897 the family moved to “Bramleigh” 16 Rowe Street, North Fitzroy, and Frank lived there first with his parents then with siblings for the rest of his life.
  • Worked as a bookbinder, serving apprenticeship with George Robertson & Co.
  • Highly regarded secretary of Bookbinders and Paper Rulers’ Union in Melbourne for five years until 1921. led union through difficult 44-hour week strike. In 1921 a major figure in creation of amalgamated printing trades union, Printing Industry Employees’ Union of Australia. He was first president of the Victorian branch 1921-23 and federal president 1930-31.
  • In 1938 Frank Burke was appointed organiser of Victorian branch of PIEUA. He was union representative on Cardboard Box and Carton Workers Wages Board and Paper Bag Trade Wages Board. Member of Printing Trade Committee of the Victorian Apprenticeship Commission.
  • Associated with Melbourne Trades Hall Council for forty years as union representative. Also delegate to Australian Labor Party and Australian Council of Trades Unions annual conferences. Old member of the Clifton Hill branch of the ALP.
  • For nearly fifty years he was an active member of the Sacred Heart Sodality [later Holy Name Society].
  • Cause of death: sudden coronary thrombosis after suffering myocarditis for five years. 

Printing Trades Journal
, 6 August 1921, 10 June 1930, August 1948; obituary, Labor Call (Melbourne), 13 August 1948, p 8:

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'Burke, Francis Joseph (Frank) (1884–1948)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 5 February 2023.

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