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Frank Carey (1913–1977)

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Frank Carey (1913-1977) railway cleaner, fireman, prisoner-of-war, locomotive driver and trade union leader. 

Birth: 1 October 1913 in Melbourne, Victoria, son of Henry Bernard ‘Harry’ Carey, locomotive fireman and driver, unionist, and Elizabeth Margaret, née Shaw. Marriages: (1) 1940 in Melbourne to native-born Rae Olive Taberner (1921-2008). They had one son. (2) 1975 in Melbourne, to Shirley Hebb. Death: 31 January 1977 at Preston, Victoria. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • Joined Victorian Railways in 1935 as a cleaner at North Melbourne Locomotive Depot. 1937 elected secretary of Supernumerary Cleaners Vigilance Committee. In 1938 became a fireman.
  • Enlisted with Australian Imperial Force on 17 June 1940, serving with distinction as a sapper in the 2nd 10th Field Company in Malaya and Singapore where he became a Prisoner of War in March 1942 and worked on the Burma Railway — acquiring the sobriquet, ‘The Doctor’. He was discharged in Melbourne on 24 January 1946.
  • Rejoined Victorian Railways in 1946, becoming a locomotive driver and North Melbourne branch secretary of Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen. He was later Victorian divisional secretary for 20 years and federal president.
  • Played leading part in anti-Grouper forces in 1954-55, becoming president Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party.
  • Cause of death: gastrointestinal haemorrhage, carcinoma of lung, asthma and emphysema.

Locomotive Journal
, May 1964, August 1964, April-June 1987.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Carey, Frank (1913–1977)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Frank Carey, c.1940

Frank Carey, c.1940

enlistment photo, war service record (B883, VX31129 (National Archives of Australia)

Life Summary [details]


1 October, 1913
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


31 January, 1977 (aged 63)
Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (lung)

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 Organisations
Political Activism