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Francis John (Frank) Hourigan (1852–1901)

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Frank Hourigan, n.d.

Frank Hourigan, n.d.

Francis John (Frank) Hourigan (1852-1901) tanner, trade union official and parliamentarian

Birth: 27 May 1852 at Limerick, Ireland, son of David Hourigan (1823-1865) and Mary, née Downey. Marriage: 29 January 1888 at North Adelaide, South Australia, to Ellen Nora McNally (1852-1935), born probably in Ireland. They had two daughters. Death: 1 December 1901 at Bowden, South Australia. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Arrived in SA with his parents in March 1856. They settled at North Adelaide, where Francis resided for the rest of his life. Was educated by Mr Bath and Mr Chambers, and at St Patrick’s School, West Adelaide. Apprenticed as a tanner’s beamsman at the tannery of John Dench at Hindmarsh. Worked in his trade for many years.
  • Became union official Councillor, Hindmarsh Corporation representing Bowden Ward. A strong advocate for social and political reform.
  • Founder and President of the Tanners and Curriers Union established in September 1889. Influential in assisting with obtaining an eight-hour day in that trade.
  • Vice-president and president of the Trades and Labour Council. Vice-president and president of the United Labor Party and secretary.
  • President of North Adelaide Working Men’s Patriotic Association.
  • An elected member of the House of Assembly for West Torrens from 15 April 1893 to his death (Labor). In 1898-1899 his absence from parliamentary due, reportedly, to insobriety, caused some public comment and a call for his resignation from the State Children’s Council.
  • After his death the ULP and his colleagues T. H. Brooker and Thomas Price, organised a subscription fund which purchased a cottage for his widow for the sum of more than £160.

Howard Coxon, John Playford & Robert Reid, Biographical Register of the South Australian Parliament 1857-1957 (Adelaide, 1985); D. J. Murphy (ed.), Labor in Politics: State Labor Parties in Australia, 1880-1920 (St Lucia, Qld, 1975;) T. H. Smeaton, From Stonecutter to Premier (Adelaide, 1924), p 69.

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'Hourigan, Francis John (Frank) (1852–1901)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 24 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Frank Hourigan, n.d.

Frank Hourigan, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


27 May, 1852
Limerick, Ireland


1 December, 1901 (aged 49)
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

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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