People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

William Bernard Geraghty (1882–1945)

This article was published:

Geraghty, William Bernard (1882-1945) schoolteacher and trade union official 

Birth: 2 June 1882 at Claremont, Queensland, son of Patrick Geraghty (1849-), storeman, later contractor, and Mary, née McGann (1850-1945). Both parents had been born in County Galway, Ireland, Patrick at Ballinakill, and Mary at Loughrea. Unmarried. Death: 12 November 1945 at South Brisbane. His mother died three days later. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Taught at Charters Towers and Golden Gate State School, Croydon, Queensland. Then was head teacher at Nobby State School in 1910, returned to Brisbane where he taught at Toowong and from 1916 at Central Boys School.
  • Studied part-time at the University of Queensland graduating with BA in 1914.
  • Appointed general secretary, Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU), in March 1917, while still teaching.
  • Appointed first full time secretary QTU in 1918, remaining in position until he resigned in 1935.
  • Attempted to improve conditions and QTU profile in northern Queensland, securing best conditions and allowances for teachers in Australia.
  • Managing editor, Queensland Teachers’ Journal, criticising government policy under nom de plume, ‘Mother of Ten’. Defended teachers right to take political stand. Accessible to rank and file but also somewhat autocratic in style.
  • In 1936 was readmitted to the Primary Correspondence School and in 1938 transferred to the Teachers Training College, where he was employed until his death.
  • Cause of death, coronary occlusion, myocarditis and arteritis, pulmonary congestion, ascites portal obstruction and cirrhosis of liver.

Labor Year Book, 1934/5; Andrew Spaull and Martin Sullivan, A history of the Queensland Teachers Union (Sydney, 1989).

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Geraghty, William Bernard (1882–1945)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Mother of Ten

2 June, 1882
Claremont, Queensland, Australia


12 November, 1945 (aged 63)
South Brisbane, Brisbane, Queensland, 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