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Cornelius Anthony (Con) Loughnan (1899–1954)

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Cornelius Anthony (Con) Loughnan (1899-1954) clerk, trade union official and mayor

Birth: 1899 at Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria, son of native-born parents Richard Ignatius Patrick Loughnan (1864-1947), bricklayer and trade union official, and Brigid Winifred, née Kearney (1863-1940). Marriage: 1927 at Richmond to Margaret Monica Catherine Ridgway (1905-1958). They had three daughters. Death: 4 July 1954 in hospital at Fizroy, Melbourne, usual residence Loughnan Street [named after his dad], Richmond. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Entered a seminary and gained a little higher education before leaving. Well-known for being argumentative and in mid-life became alcoholic.
  • Victim of rumours of him and his father being involved in the Trades Hall murder of 1915 but they were never charged.
  • Was a member of the Richmond branch of the Australian Labor Party by 1923. In August 1924 he was elected unopposed as councillor for Richmond Municipal Council, East Ward, after building community support through forming the Small Landholders’ Defence League against Richmond Council’s policy on limits to the length of shop frontages and house frontages that made it difficult for people to rebuild their houses if they were to burn down.
  • Joined with Councillor O’Connell in building the Reform Party within the Labor Party which utilised the Small Landholders’ Defence League in the factional in-fighting within the branches of council between themselves as the ‘Young Turks’ and the old guard.
  • In-fighting caused a public repudiation of the Reform Party and following this in 1926 Loughnan was ‘severely censured’ and suspended by the Victorian Central Executive of the ALP for using defamatory leaflets in the 1925 pre-selection ballot in South Ward.
  • Further in-fighting continued and subsequently Loughnan lost pre-selection for East Ward in 1927 and was narrowly defeated in the subsequent council election.
  • Appointed general secretary of the Hospital Employees’ Association of Australia in March 1928. Again pre-selected by the Richmond branch of the ALP, he was re-elected to the municipal council in May 1928 in a by-election for the South Ward. In December 1931 he was the selected Labor candidate for the Federal seat of Kooyong, held by (Sir) John G. Latham (who won, of course).
  • Loughnan was elected mayor of Richmond in August 1932. His term ended in August 1933 and he recontested the mayoralty, but lost. Recriminations followed.
  • In March 1934 he was appointed permit and statistical clerk (at a salary of £277 per annum) at Richmond Council, and resigned as councillor. Following an internal party dispute over his challenge for preselection for the State seat of Richmond he was excluded from the ALP for three years in June 1935.
  • In August 1938 his brother Councillor James Aloysius Loughnan (1904-1998) was elected mayor of Richmond.
  • Con Loughnan returned to active membership of the ALP in Richmond. In 1940 he was selected Labor candidate for State seat of Toorak but filed his nomination form two minutes too late and it was refused. In 1947 he withdrew his request for renewal of his party membership ticket.
  • Cause of death: acute liver failure (5 weeks), cirrhosis (years).

Janet McCalman, Struggletown:public and private life in Richmond 1900-1965, (Melbourne, 1984), pp 116-119.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Loughnan, Cornelius Anthony (Con) (1899–1954)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Con Loughnan

Con Loughnan

Herald (Melbourne), 17 May 1933, p 4

Life Summary [details]


Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


4 July, 1954 (aged ~ 55)
Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

cirrhosis of the liver

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