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Gerald Patrick (Gerry) Foley (1895–1944)

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Gerald Patrick Jeremiah (Gerry) Foley (1895-1944) clerk, railway officer and trade union official 

Birth: 19 June 1895 at Fremantle, Western Australia, son of Irish-born parents from County Kerry, Jeremiah Foley (1859-1941), from Leamnaguila or Farranfore, quarryman and pioneer of Soap and Candle Employees Union, WA, and Mary, née Gleeson (1857-1941), from Rathmore. Marriage: 21 February 1923 at Boulder, WA, to native-born Mary Conway (1894-1986). They had two daughters and two sons. Death: 7 November 1944 in his residence at Mosman Park, Perth. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Educated at Christian Brothers College, Fremantle.
  • Came from a Labor family. Father was also a pioneer Australian Labor Party member in WA and founder of the Cottlesloe Beach branch of the ALP. Brother Daniel Maurice Foley (1890-1966) was sometime secretary and president of the Merredin branch of the ALP and secretary of the local branch of locomotives union. And brother Maurice Francis (1892-1964) was for some years president of the Postal Electricians’ Union.
  • Reputedly served in the Royal Australian Navy from 1914 to 1918.
  • Joined West Australian Railway Officers’ Union, delegate to Fremantle District Council and State Executive.
  • Contested Labor preselection for Senate in 1933.
  • General secretary of the Australian Timber Workers’ Union, WA, from 1934 to 1944. According to a lyrical obituary: ‘carving his name in the jarrah and karri of the forest country of which he was the workers’ guardian’.
  • Vice-chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission from 1942 to his death.
  • Cause of death: coronary thrombosis and syncope.

H. J. Gibbney & A. G. Smith, A Biographical Register 1788-1939, vol 1 (Canberra, 1987); Westralian Worker, 4 July 1941, 10 November 1944.

Additional Resources

  • funeral, West Australian, 30 June 1941, p 2

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Foley, Gerald Patrick (Gerry) (1895–1944)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 16 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Gerry Foley, c.1944

Gerry Foley, c.1944

Sunday Times (Perth), 12 November 1944, p 5

Life Summary [details]


19 June, 1895
Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia


7 November, 1944 (aged 49)
Mosman Park, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism