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John (Jack) De Gruchy (1862–1946)

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John (Jack) De Gruchy (1862-1946) metal worker and trade union official 

Birth: 1862 at Carlton, Victoria, son of Edward De Gruchy (1833-1897), a carpenter born in Jersey, Channel Islands, England, and Ellen, née Reilly (1836-1913). Marriage. 1896 at Malvern, Melbourne, Victoria, to native-born Catherine (Kit) Lemmon (1867-1947). They had two daughters. Death: 5 February 1946 at Malvern, Melbourne. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • Educated at school located in Melbourne Trades Hall.
  • Sheet metal worker, employed in the lamp shed at the Spencer Street railway station by Victorian Railways, he helped found Tinsmiths Union [later Sheet Metal Working, Agricultural Implement and Stovemaking Industrial Union of Australia] in about 1884. In 1885 he was financial secretary of union. From 1913 to 1934 he was full-time secretary of Victorian Branch of union. In 1911 he was elected first full-time general secretary of the Federal union, holding position until the 1920s, and later was appointed vice-president of the federal executive.
  • An athlete in his youth, he played for Williamstown Football Club in the Victorian Football Association. Sports secretary for union and official starter for events on Eight-Hour Day.
  • Delegate to Melbourne Trades Hall Council.
  • Took a prominent part in the No Conscription campaigns during World War II.
  • Cause of death: bronchiectasis, pulmonary fibrosis and cardiac failure.
  • His father-in-law Samuel Lemmon and mother-in-law Matilda were prominent Labor activists, his brother in-law Jack Lemmon, also a trade union official, became a Victorian State politician and his nephew Nelson Lemmon became a Federal cabinet minister.

Labor Call
(Melbourne), 31 December 1932, 14 February 1946, p 1 tribute and p 8 obituary; The Sheet Metal Worker, March 1946.

Additional Resources

  • photo, Tocsin (Melbourne), 18 April 1901, p 5
  • profile, Labor Call (Melbourne), 21 December 1922, p 4
  • tributes, Labor Call (Melbourne, Vic), 14 February 1946, p 1

Citation details

'De Gruchy, John (Jack) (1862–1946)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Jack de Gruchy, 1914

Jack de Gruchy, 1914

Labor Call (Melbourne), 23 April 1914, p 6

Life Summary [details]


Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


5 February, 1946 (aged ~ 84)
Malvern, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

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