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Frank Peter Keane (1863–1940)

This article was published:

Frank Keane, n.d.

Frank Keane, n.d.

Frank Peter (Francis) Keane (1863-1940) cooper, trade union official and parliamentarian 

Birth: 13 January 1863 at Ballarat East, Victoria, and registered as Francis, son of Michael Keane, labourer, and Catherine, née Meehan. Both parents had been born in County Clare, Ireland. Marriage: 1889 to Alice Freezee Williams (1863-1913). They had two daughters and two sons. Death: 15 May 1940. Religion: born into a Catholic family but, a self-styled Socialist, he sent his children to the Socialist Sunday School. 

  • Educated by the Christian Brothers at Ballarat. With his father an invalid, he began work as cooper at the age of 12, in 1865, at Ballarat. Later worked at Melbourne.
  • Joined the Coopers Union about 1883. Was dismissed for union activities.
  • Dairy farmer at Toora, Gippsland, from 1910 to 1912. Returned to Melbourne.
  • After considerable difficulty was re-employed as cooper. Was an executive member of the Coopers Union and represented it on the Wages Board and the Trades Hall Council.
  • Founding member of the Coburg branch of the Political Labor Council in 1902. Coburg town councillor from 1913 to 1922.
  • Contested seat of Essendon in the Legislative Assembly in 1911 and 1914 and was MLA for Essendon from 1924 to 1927 and for seat of Coburg from 1927 until his death. Was a member of the shorter working week committee in 1935.

Geoff Browne, Biographical register of the Victorian Parliament, 1900-84 (Melbourne, 1985). Carolyn Rasmussen, ‘Challenging the centre - the Coburg ALP branch in the 1930s’, Labour History, No 54 (May 1988), pp 47-63; Recorder, October 1978.

Additional Resources

  • photo, Labor Call (Melbourne), 20 July 1911, p 3
  • photo, Argus (Melbourne), 15 January 1914, p 7

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Keane, Frank Peter (1863–1940)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Frank Keane, n.d.

Frank Keane, n.d.

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Keane, Francis Peter

13 January, 1863
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia


15 May, 1940 (aged 77)
Coburg, Melbourne, Victoria, 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