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John Patrick (Jack) Horan (1905–1972)

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Horan, John Patrick (Jack) (1905-1972) brewery driver and trade union official

Birth: 12 October 1905 at Boulder City, Western Australia, son of Irish-born parents James David Horan (1868-1916)), gold miner, from Templeglantine, Newcastle, Limerick, and Ellen Mary (Nelie), née Foley (1871-1935), from Modeligo [Cappoquin], Waterford, who had married at Croydon, Queensland, in 1900. Marriage: 1935 at Hampton, Victoria, to Ethel May Cooper. They had no children. Death: 23 October 1972, at Tamworth, New South Wales. Buried at Kippa-Ring, Moreton Bay, Queensland. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Worked horse-hauling logs in Western Australia. Became a delegate, Timber Workers’ Union, in 1921.
  • Moved to Queensland and horse-hauled pine out of forests.
  • Moved to Victoria and became brewery driver and member of Transport Workers Union (TWU) in 1927; organiser, TWU, and secretary of the Victorian branch.
  • In 1948 became Federal secretary of the TWU. Vice-president of the Trades Hall Council and president in 1950, described as “big, square-jawed”. Nominated to contest Labor preselection for Oakleigh in 1950 but withdrew at the request of his union.
  • President of the Australian Labor Party, Victorian branch. Went with the Democratic Labor Party in the 1955 split and was expelled from ALP.
  • Commonwealth Arbitration Commissioner from about 1956; appointed OBE in January 1971 for service as commissioner.
  • In later life moved to Redcliffe, Brisbane, with his wife.
  • Cause of death: myocardial infarction, atherosclerosis and mild diabetes mellitus.

Merrifield card index, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne; Argus (Melbourne), 9 June 1950; Herald, 9 June 1950; Labor Call (Melbourne), 15 June, 1950; Age (Melbourne), 24 October 1972; Weekend Australian, 25-26 May, 1996.

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Citation details

'Horan, John Patrick (Jack) (1905–1972)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Jack Prosser, 1950

Jack Prosser, 1950

Argus (Melbourne), 9 June 1950, p 3

Life Summary [details]


12 October, 1905
Boulder, Western Australia, Australia


23 October, 1972 (aged 67)
Tamworth, 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