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Francis (Frank) Kenna (1865–1932)

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Francis (Frank) Kenna (1865-1932) telegraphist, teacher, journalist and politician 

Birth: 21 September 1865 at Maryborough, Queensland, son of Irish-born parents from County Kildare, Joseph Kenna (c.1828-1908), drover, later butcher and cab proprietor, and Ellen, née Fleming (1841-1907). Marriages: (1) 31 August 1903 at the registry office, Brisbane, to Ruby Mary Thomson, a pianist from South Australia. The marriage was dissolved in July 1904. (2) 16 July 1907 at Gympie to Edith Elvira Stamp (1885-1961). They had two sons. Death: 23 June 1932 at Brisbane. Religion: Anglican. 

  • Educated at Maryborough State school. Telegraphist in Queensland Posts & Telegraphs Department.
  • Pupil teacher 1883. 1886 clerk in Lands Department at Ingham. Telegraphist Maryborough, Bundaberg, Toowoomba, Bowen & Cooktown.
  • Editor Worker (Brisbane) 1899. Co-founder Queensland Social-Democratic Vanguard 1900.
  • Elected a Labor member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly for Bowen on 11 March 1902. In the split of 1907 became a follower of William Kidston. Was defeated by his Labor opponent in the election of 5 October 1909
  • Editor Sun (Brisbane) and Charters Towers Telegraph. 1911 owner Bangalow Herald (New South Wales) and Logan and Albert Bulletin (Southport).
  • Subsequently farmer near Caboolture.
  • Contributed poetry to Australian publications from 1885, including the Sydney Bulletin. Published verse collections, Songs of a season (1895) and Phases (1915).

D. B. Waterson Biographical register of the Queensland Parliament 1860-1929 (Canberra, 2001); Verity Burgmann, In Our Time: Socialism and the Rise of Labor, 1885-1905 (Sydney, 1985).

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Kenna, Francis (Frank) (1865–1932)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Frank Kenna, n.d.

Frank Kenna, n.d.

State Library of Queensland, 88164

Life Summary [details]


21 September, 1865
Maryborough, Queensland, Australia


23 June, 1932 (aged 66)
Brisbane, Queensland, 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