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John Robert (Jack) Hartley (1890–1964)

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John Robert Hartley (1890-1964) shearer, salesman and trade union activist 

Birth: 1890, Swan Ponds, Cowra, New South Wales, son of English-born parents Benjamin Thomas Hartley (1850-1933), a railway fitter from Manchester, Lancashire, and Louisa, née Davidson (1846-1929), from Lyme Regis, Dorset. Marriage: 1918 at Woollahra, NSW, to Uriel Mary Callanan (1899-1973), born at Broken Hill, NSW. They had three daughters and one son Death: 25 July 1964 in a convalescent hospital at Summer Hill, Sydney; usual residence Paul street, East Balmain. Religion: Anglican. 

  • Parents and older siblings had arrived in Sydney as assisted immigrants aboard the North on 24 December 1883.
  • Young Hartley worked as a shearer and joined the Australian Workers’ Union and the Industrial Workers of the World.
  • Was secretary of Moree district shearers’ committee in 1917. Played an active part in the anti-conscription campaign.
  • Secretary, of Mayfield East (Newcastle) Unemployed Workers’ Movement. Participated in the Tighes Hill anti-eviction struggle in 1932-33, resulting in a lengthy and costly trial at Singleton of ten men which ended without a conviction.
  • All his life a firm supporter of the Communist Party of Australia.
  • Cause of death: coronary occlusion, arteriosclerosis, hypertension (essential), left hemiplegia.
  • Body was delivered to the University of Sydney.

Maritime Worker
, 19 August 1964.

Citation details

'Hartley, John Robert (Jack) (1890–1964)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Cowra, New South Wales, Australia


25 July, 1964 (aged ~ 74)
Summer Hill, 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