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James Matthew (Jim) Concannon (1890–1973)

by Peter Sheldon

This article was published:

James Concannon, n.d.

James Concannon, n.d.

James Matthew (Jim) Concannon (1890-1973) clerk, trade union official, politician

Birth: 10 November 1890 in Sydney, New South Wales, son of Irish-born parents, Bartholomew Concannon (1855-1896), from Tuam, County Roscommon, and Margaret Mary, née Gilmore (1864-1924) from Ennis, County Clare. Marriages: (1) June 1915 to Arline Eleanor Russell Clarke (1895-1958). They had three daughters. (2) 30 June 1962 to Mary Murielle McBryde. Death: 8 August 1973 at Bondi, Sydney. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Highly competent and conservative white-collar union and Australian Labor Party official.
  • Educated at Marist Brothers College, Darlinghurst, Sydney. Began work as a messenger boy in the Government Printing Office. Was a clerk in the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board from 1907 to 1927. Resigned to become secretary of the NSW Public Service Professional Officers Association from 1927 to 1959.
  • Contemporaneously held secretaryships of a number of small public sector white collar/professional officer unions, e.g. Salaried Officers’ Division of Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage Employees’ Association (from 1928), Railway Officers’ Association, Australian Broadcasting Commission Staff Association, Hunter District Water Board Employees’ Association, Sydney Harbour Trust (later Maritime Services Board of NSW), Clerical and General Officers Association, Fed. Gas Employees Industrial Union, NSW Branch Salaried Division FCIS, FCA.
  • Used ALP connections to negotiate claims on public sector employees especially re appeals boards.
  • Secretary and President, Drummoyne branch of the ALP (on State Electorate Council, Federal Electorate Council etc.). Important in swinging branch from industrialist to pro mainstream party position in 1919. On ALP Propaganda Committee in 1919. On Central Executive of the NSW ALP, 1923-4.
  • Contested Ryde for ALP in 1925.
  • ALP member of the NSW Legislative Council from December 1925 to 1958 (failed to be preselected). Leader in the council from 1931 to 1941. Strongly pro-Lang. Minister without portfolio and member of the Executive Council from November 1930 to April 1931. Vice president of the Executive Council, from April 1931 to May 1932.

Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt & Elizabeth Hinton, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); NSW Parliamentary Debates, vol 171, 31 August 1943, p 4066, vol 105, August 1973, pp 93-95; On Service, 20 June 1927, 20 March 1930, September 1973; N. B. Nairn, The ‘Big Fella’: Jack Lang and the Autralian Labor Party, 1891-1949 (Carlton, 1986); Labor News, 1919-23; Joe Weir interview, Sydney, 7 December 1984; Colin Colbourne interview, 20 November 1984, Sydney.

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Citation details

Peter Sheldon, 'Concannon, James Matthew (Jim) (1890–1973)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

James Concannon, n.d.

James Concannon, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


10 November, 1890
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


8 August, 1973 (aged 82)
Bondi, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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.

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.

Political Activism