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Crook, John William (1895–1970)

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John Crook, n.d.

John Crook, n.d.

John William Crook (1895-1970) coal miner, trade union leader and politician 

Birth: 14 November 1895 at Korumburra, Victoria, son of John Crook, miner and unionist, and Ellen, née Phillips. Marriages: (1) 1914 at Wickham, Newcastle, New South Wales, to native-born Eva Maud Blanche Luckraft (1897-1927). They had three sons. (2) 1933 at Kurri Kurri, NSW, to Annie Elizabeth ‘Nance’, née Scruton, late O’Connell (1902-1989), a divorcée born in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England, who had served in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in England during World War I. They had one son. Death: 4 July 1970 at West Wallsend, NSW. Religion: Methodist. 

  • Educated at Kurri Kurri and Balgownie public schools in NSW.
  • Began work aged 13 on pit top at Kembla mine. Returned to Kurri Kurri with family, worked at Aberdeen No.1 mine until 1917 and at Richmond Main from 1918 to 1943. Dusted while a miner.
  • Member and official of Richmond Main lodge and president from 1924 to 1936. Northern District representative on Miners' Federation Central Council from 1936 to 1949.
  • Member of the Australian Labor Party. Joined group opposing J. T. Lang in 1936. Was bashed in 1938 after declaring that as Northern District delegate he intended criticising the Lang "Inner Group".
  • President Northern District from 1943 to 1949, replacing the Communist Party incumbent Henry Scanlon. Proved astute in handling industrial problems. Member of the wartime Coal Tribunal. In the latter stages of the 1949 coal strike he called, with fellow moderate Harry Cockerill, for end to strike action, effectively splitting strike front.
  • Elected Member of the Legislative Assembly of NSW for seat of Cessnock on 8 October 1949 at by-election caused by the retirement of J. M. Baddeley, retaining seat until his retirement on 16 February 1959.

Sources
Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt & Elizabeth Hinton, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); E. Ross, A history of the Miners' Federation of Australia ([Sydney] 1970).

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Citation details

'Crook, John William (1895–1970)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/crook-john-william-33054/text41202, accessed 29 January 2023.

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