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.

Grant, John (1857–1928)

John Grant  (1857-1928) stonemason, labour activist and Senator

Birth: 24 December 1857, Abernathy, Scotland, son of crofter parents Gregor and Margaret Grant. Married: 14 May 1884, Mary Ann Kearney in Congregational Church, Sydney. They had one son. Died: 19 May 1928, Annandale, Sydney, NSW. Presbyterian. 

  • Educated, primary school; apprenticed as stonemason, Glasgow.
  • Arrived in Australia, 1880. Active in establishment of Stonecutters’ Union and in Operative Stonemasons Union. Held most positions including secretary. Involved in building Sydney GPO and wing of Sydney University.
  • Executive member NSW Trades and Labor Council (TLC) and union delegate during 1890s strikes
  • Active in formation of ALP. Member Annandale branch. General Secretary, NSW ALP (Political Labor League), 1903-1915.
  • Single taxer whose influence meant that early ALP platform reflected influence of Henry George, advocated working-class mobilisation on industrial, political and ideological fronts. 1904 NSW TLC repudiated his reported suggestion, as ALP Secretary, that minimum wage was not universally enforceable due to unemployment.
  • Senator, 1914-20, 1922-28 (died in office). Deputy leader of ALP in Senate.

Joan Rydon (ed), A biographical register of the Commonwealth Parliament 1901-1972 (ANU Press, 1975); Graham Freudenberg, Cause for power – the centenary history of the NSW Labor Party (Pluto Press, 1991); Raymond Markey, In case of oppression: the life and times of the Labor Council of New South Wales (Syd, 1994);  Co-operator, 7 October  1912; Worker, 8 August 1907, 19 November 1908; Westralian Worker, 25 May 1928; Geoffrey Hawker, ‘Grant, John’ in Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate, https://biography.senate.gov.au/john-grant/ accessed 12 July 2021.

Additional Resources

  • funeral, Sydney Morning Herald, 22 May 1928, p 15
  • probate, Labor Daily (Sydney), 18 August 1928, p 5

Citation details

'Grant, John (1857–1928)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/grant-john-31935/text39435, accessed 2 December 2021.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012