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Frederick Carl (Fred) Katz (1887–1960)

This article was published:

Fred Katz, n.d.

Fred Katz, n.d.

Frederick Karl (Fred) Katz (1887-1960) packer, carrier, trade union official and Australian senator

Birth: 21 May 1887 at Kent Town, Adelaide, son of Carl August (Charles) Katz (1845-1923), a French-born German jeweller, and Jane, née Wiltshire (1855-1930), born at Ewell, Epsom, Surrey, England. Marriage: April 1900 in St Ambrose Catholic Church, Brunswick, Victoria, to Melbourne-born Alicia Watkins. They had one daughter. Death: 13 December 1960 in his home at St Vincent Place, Albert Park, Melbourne. 

  • Educated to primary school level. Moved with his family to Victoria in 1898.
  • Joined the Social Democratic Party (established 1902) and Australian Labor Party. In 1910 was assistant secretary of the Carters' & Drivers' Union, Victoria.
  • Moved to Tasmania in 1911. Organised Tasmanian Branch of Carters' & Drivers' Union in 1911, becoming secretary.
  • Organised Gasworkers' Union, becoming Tasmanian State secretary and Federal president. Conducted Gasworkers' first Federal award case. Whilst in Tasmania, organised the United Labourers' Union, Liquor Trades, Shop Assistants & Hotel Employees. Helped revive Eight Hours Demonstration.
  • Returned to mainland in 1914. From 1915 to 1920 was assistant-secretary of the Australian Clerical Association. Was ACA federal secretary from 1920, retaining position for 20 years.
  • State secretary, Miscellaneous Workers Union 1917. Represented unions on Wages Boards and Industrial Courts in several States and before Federal Arbitration Court and was Public Service Arbitrator member, Melbourne Trades Hall Council (MTHC).
  • Member Victorian ALP executive from 1918. Contested State seat of Warrnambool (1920) and Federal seat of Henty (1931) for Labor.
  • MTHC president; assistant secretary MTHC from 1938 to 1947. Union representative on State Cargo Control Committee during World War II and on Post-War Reconstruction Training Committee and Re-establishment Committee for ex-servicemen. Deputy member Victorian Court of Appeals.
  • Elected member of the Australian Senate for Victoria on September 1946. Defeated in the double dissolution election in 1951.
  • Cause of death: congestive cardiac failure (3 months), chronic myocarditis (12 months) and arteriosclerosis (3 years).

Joan Rydon (ed), A biographical register of the Commonwealth Parliament 1901-1972 (ANU Press, 1975); Verity Burgmann, ‘In Our Time’: Socialism and the Rise of Labor 1885–1905, George Allen & Unwin (Sydney, 1985); Labor Call, 9 March 1922 & 29 March 1951; Labor, January 1961; Frank Bongiorno, Frederick Carl Katz, Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate:

Citation details

'Katz, Frederick Carl (Fred) (1887–1960)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 April 2024.

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