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John James (Jack) Lynch (1883–1956)

by Peter Sheldon

This article was published:

John James (Jack) Lynch (1883?-1956?) labourer and trade union official

Birth: probably the John James Lynch born in 1883 at Young, New South Wales, son of William Henry Lynch (1829-1902), labourer, born in County Meath, Ireland, and Sydney-born Harriett, née Morris (1844-1921). Marriage: 1924 at Newtown, Sydney, to Mary Doreen (Molly) Lindwall (1903-1991), born at Pambula, NSW. They had two daughters and one son. Death: 24 May 1956 at Dulwich Hill, Sydney. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Grew up in Young. President of the Railway Workers and General Laborers Association, Burrembed Weir, in 1909 and 1913-1914. Representative of Rural Workers’ Union, Wyalong district, 1912. District secretary, Railway Workers and General Laborers Association/Union, Griffith branch, 1914. Delegate of Railway Workers and General Laborers Association/Union 1916.
  • Executive member of the Griffith branch of the amalgamated organisation after the railway workers and general labourers joined with the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) in 1917. Representative of Griffith branch to AWU convention 1921-22 and 1924. Organiser, AWU Railway branch, from 1918 to at least 1924. Vice-president 1924.
  • Secretary, Australian Labor Party, Griffith branch, 1916. Vice-president, Murrumbidgee Electorate Council, 1916.
  • Active member, Newtown ALP. Delegate to Cook and Botany electorate councils. Opposed conscription. Strong supporter of defeated Industrialist section of ALP (Garden et al) and member provisional Executive of new Social Democratic Party, 1919. Failed attempts to move ALP branches to new party. Returned to ALP in late 1919. Delegate, Railway Industry Branch AWU to NSW ALP Conference 1920.
  • Argued against nationalism and nationalisation at 1922 NSW ALP Conference. Pro socialisation under workers’ control. Contested the party’s preselection to fill a vacancy in the Australian Senate in November 1924.
  • Continuous struggle with George C. Bodkin for control of Railway Workers' Industry Branch (RWIB) during 1920s brought his suspension and reinstatement in 1925-1926. Joined Bodkin to fight off challenge from organised, militant rank-and-file in 1927. When Bodkin fell in ballot rigging scandal the 1928 AWU Convention selected Lynch as RWIB president.
  • Cause of death: cachexia and cancer of head of pancreas.

Labor News
, 1919-23; Australian Worker, 1925-26; Labor Daily, 29 November 1924, p 5.

Additional Resources

  • profile, Labor Daily (Sydney), 29 November 1924, p 5
  • photo, Australian Worker (Sydney), 28 January 1931, p 5
  • photo, Australian Worker (Sydney), 9 March 1932, p 16

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Peter Sheldon, 'Lynch, John James (Jack) (1883–1956)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Jack Lynch, n.d.

Jack Lynch, n.d.

Australian Worker (Sydney), 28 January 1931, p 5

Life Summary [details]


Young, New South Wales, Australia


24 May, 1956 (aged ~ 73)
Dulwich Hill, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (pancreatic)

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