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John Grant (1857–1928)

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John Grant, n.d.

John Grant, n.d.

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, 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,, accessed 25 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

John Grant, n.d.

John Grant, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


24 December, 1857
Abernethy, Perthshire, Scotland


19 May, 1928 (aged 70)
Annandale, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (face)

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.

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Political Activism