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John (Jack) Kaine (1883–1964)

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John (Jack) Kaine (1883-1964) labourer, health inspector and trade union official

Birth: 1883 at Sydney, New South Wales, son of Irish-born parents Thomas Kaine (1848-1894), labourer, and Annie, née McFadden. Marriage: 1 June 1910 at St Brendan’s Catholic Church, Annandale, to native-born Ellen Mary (Trixie) Lawrence (1886-1961), bookbinder. They had two daughters and five sons. Death: 29 August 1964 in hospital at Kensington, Sydney; usual residence Murray Street, Maroubra, Sydney. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Worked for City Council, Sydney, first on wages staff as a labourer, and later to the salary division, including as a health inspector.
  • Member, of the Sydney City Council Union. The union later grew into Federated Municipal and Shire Council Employees’ Union of Australia (MEU) and he became president in 1918.
  • Assisted in securing legislation for workers’ compensation, widows pension and child endowment. He assisted in the growth of the union to 27,000 by travelling on a bicycle to country areas of NSW.
  • Executive member of the Political Labor League and Australian Labor Party. Member, Darling Harbor Political Labor League from about 1902.
  • Worked for Labor candidates in City Council elections. Was a defeated candidate for alderman for Macquarie ward on Greater Sydney City Council in December 1948. Delegate to the Trades and Labor Council and Eight Hour Committee.
  • Retired as union president in May 1952. Life member of the MEU.
  • Cause of death: congestive cardiac failure, arteriosclerosis, senility and bronchiectasis.
  • Three sons, John Thomas Kaine (1910-1967), a purchasing officer, Arthur James Kaine (1917-1983), a salesman, and Thomas Lawrence Kaine (1921-1973), a storeman, served in World War II.

The Counsellor
, No. 3. p 16, No. 2, 1978; Labor Year Book, 1934-35 p 232.

Additional Resources

  • photo, Labor Daily (Sydney), 14 March 1924, p 1

Citation details

'Kaine, John (Jack) (1883–1964)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 12 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


29 August, 1964 (aged ~ 81)
Kensington, Sydney, New South Wales, 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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism