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Mark Gosling (1886–1980)

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Mark Gosling, n.d.

Mark Gosling, n.d.

Mark Gosling (1886-1980) house painter, politician and building contractor 

Birth: 7 August 1886 at Smethwick, near Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, youngest child of Samuel Gosling (1840-1916), screw works labourer, and Hannah, née Nelms (b.1851). Marriage: 26 April 1913, at All Saints Anglican church, Leichhardt, Sydney, New South Wale, to Florence Thorneycroft (1892-1977), born at Wolverhampton, England. They had three sons. Death: 31 May 1980 in a convalescent home at Bexley, Sydney. Religion: Anglican. 

  • His mother signed his birth registration with a mark. Educated at primary school level. Commenced work before he was 10 years of age. Was a house painter in Smethwick in 1901-1911.
  • Arrived in Sydney in 1911, and attended tutorial classes at University of Sydney 1916-1919. Was a contract painter, became a member of the Amalgamated Ship Painters’, Paperhangers and Decorators Employees’ Association, and was vice-president from 1915 to 1918.
  • Associated with the Australian Labor Party from 1911. President of Petersham and Homedale leagues; president Barton federal electorate council; chairman of Petersham and District anti-conscription campaign 1915-1916. Selected Labor candidate for Federal seat of Parkes in 1917.
  • Elected member of the NSW Legislative Assembly for the seat of St George on 20 March 1920, for the seat of Oatley on 8 October 1927, the seat of Kogarah on 25 October 1930.
  • In J. T. Lang’s governments was Colonial Secretary for NSW from May to October 1927 and from 4 November 1930 to 13 May 1932, when the Lang government was dismissed by governor Game. Lost his seat of Kogarah in the ensuing State elections on 11 June 1932. Member of NSW ALP central executive, 1938 to 1939.
  • Director St George Hospital 1920-27; trustee National Park 1925-57; member Australian Industrial Fellowship Council 1923.
  • Freemason. Associated with Workers’ Educational Association in both England and Australia. Described by a supporter in 1930 as being “of Quaker stock – with all a Quaker’s abhorrence of war. A staunch pacifist . . . “neither drinks nor smokes and his hobbies are reading and music”.
  • Widely reputed to be involved in corrupt behavior re ‘tin hares’.
  • After leaving parliament, was described in electoral rolls as a contractor. Supported the Heffron Labor Party in 1938.
  • Cause of death: hypertensive heart disease.

Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt and Elizabeth Hinton, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); Labor Year Book, 1933; Australian Worker, 3 May 1917; The Painter, August 1980.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Gosling, Mark (1886–1980)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 16 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Mark Gosling, n.d.

Mark Gosling, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


7 August, 1886
Smethwick, Warwickshire, England


31 May, 1980 (aged 93)
Sydney, New South Wales, 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