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Edward John (Jack) Hanson (1908–1967)

This article was published:

Jack Hanson, caricature by Ian Gall, 1939

Jack Hanson, caricature by Ian Gall, 1939

Courier-Mail (Brisbane), 22 November 1939, p 18

Edward John (Jack) Hanson (1908-1967) painter, trade union official and Communist

Birth: 4 February 1908 at Brisbane, Queensland, son of native-born parents Edward Joseph Hanson (1873-1950), plumber and politician, and Elizabeth, née McKay (1881-1969). Marriage: 27 September 1935 at Brisbane to Queensland-born Elizabeth Mabel Mapleston (Mabel) Walton (1909-1992). They had one son. Death: 26 March, 1967 at Brisbane.

  • In 1930s gained casual work as a painter in Public Works up to 1939. Joined Operative Painters and Decorators Union of Australia (OPDUA) in 1930.
  • Worked for rights of unemployed. Sometime president and Queensland branch secretary of the OPDUA to 1939. Full-time Queensland branch secretary from 1939 to 1967, “working long hours for low pay’.
  • Federal vice-president, OPDUA 1952, 1954-56, 1958-1967; General secretary OPDUA 1952-54.
  • Under his leadership union secured ban on lead-based paint in 1940s and 1950s. Played leading part in endeavour to amalgamate plumbers and painters unions.
  • Left the Australian Labor Party and joined Communist Party of Australia in 1941 and remained a member for the rest of his life. He was a member of Queensland State committee until 1966 and of its executive committee.
  • Chair of Queensland Labour Council dispute committee from about 1940 to about 1967. Executive member, Queensland Trades and Labour Council in 1941.
  • Executive member of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Member, Combined Railways Unions’ State Executive Committee. Member, Building Trades Group of unions.
  • Peace activist.
  • Cause of death: pentobarbitone poisoning.

John Playford, Doctrinal and strategic problems of the Communist Party of Australia, 1945-1962, PhD thesis, ANU, p 422; Tribune, 5 April 1967, p 11, 19 April, 1967 p 6; Building Worker, May 1967; The Painter, May 1967, p.2; John Spierings, A brush with history: history of the Operative Painters' and Decorators' Union (Melbourne, 1993).

Additional Resources

  • photo, Telegraph (Brisbane), 7 July 1938, p 14
  • tribute, Tribune (Sydney), 19 April 1967, p 6

Citation details

'Hanson, Edward John (Jack) (1908–1967)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 July 2024.

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