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Thomas Walter (Tom) Grealy (1883–1959)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Thomas Walter (Tom) Grealy (1883-1959) railway employee, farm labourer, carrier and Labor candidate

Birth: 6 December 1883 at Brighton, South Australia, third of eleven children of Patrick Grealy (1855-1925), labourer, born in Galway, Ireland, and Margaret, née Welsh (1860-1939), born at Derwent Haugh, Durham, England. Unmarried: Death: 26 May 1959 at Norwood, Adelaide, South Australia; usual residence Oxenbold Street, Parkside, Adelaide. Religion: Catholic.

  • Educated at the Monaro public school. Was employed in the traffic and permanent ways department of the railways from about 1897.
  • Followed agricultural pursuits from about 1907 to 1919 at least. In 1915 was president of the Mylor Institute and secretary of the Mylor branch of the Fruitgrowers and Market Gardeners’ Association.
  • A member the Australian Labor Party “ever since he came of age”. In March 1910 and 1915 was Labor candidate for the District Alexandra in the House of Assembly.
  • A Druid of the Oak or Hahndorf Lodge from 1905-1915 at least. Member of the Mitchell Model Parliament in 1916.
  • Was an uncompromising opponent of conscription and toured the State during that campaign. He contested State House of Assembly electorates of East Torrens in May 1917 and April 1918. In November 1919 he was leading Labor candidate for the Australian Senate. He failed to win Alexandra in a by-election in June 1920, Sturt in April 1921, April 1924, April 1927, April 1930 (when he was narrowly defeated) and April 1933 and the new seat of Unley in March 1938.
  • In June 1930 he was appointed justice of the Peace in the district of Parkside.
  • Sometime member and president of the Sturt Electorate Committee of the ALP and member, vice president and president (1932-1933) of the ALP’s State executive. He unsuccessfully contested Labor pre-selection at other times, including for the Australian Senate in 1925 and 1931 and the State seat of Gawler in March 1952.
  • In 1929-1930 he was a member of a special committee which enquired into the conduct of Labor plebiscites, several of which had been declared void.
  • Occupation varied including labourer, driver and carrier in the Unley district.
  • Cause of death: cerebral haemorrhage, 1 day, and subacute endocarditis, 3 years.

Additional Resources

  • profile, Daily Herald (Adelaide), 20 March 1915, p 9
  • profile, Daily Herald (Adelaide), 25 October 1919, p 6
  • profile, Daily Herald (Adelaide), 22 March 1921, p 4
  • photo, Advertiser (Adelaide), 30 January 1930, p 16
  • profile, News (Adelaide), 13 March 1933, p 3

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Grealy, Thomas Walter (Tom) (1883–1959)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Tom Grealy, 1919

Tom Grealy, 1919

Daily Herald (Adelaide), 25 October 1919, p 6

Life Summary [details]


6 December, 1883
Brighton, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


26 May, 1959 (aged 75)
Norwood, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Cause of Death


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