People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Maher, James Bernard (Jim) (1927–2009)

James Bernard ('Jim') Maher (1927-2009)

Birth: 20 August 1927. Death: 17 December 2009.

  • Educated at Christian Brothers College, Clifton Hill in Melbourne;
  • Worked for Norman Makin who was a Methodist lay preacher and federal MP for Hindmarsh and minister in Curtin government; Worked at Department store, Paynes Bon Marche, Melbourne;
  • Joined Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), 1946; Delegate to Branch conference, 1948;
  • Delegate to Victorian Trades Hall Council, 1948;
  • Delegate from Metropolitan Division to State Conference 1950? or 1952?; Member, Victorian State Council; Represented Victoria at National Conference, 1952-1968 continuously;
  • Resigned from Paynes Bon Marche to take position of Country Organiser, SDA, Victorian branch 1956-1968; Assistant State Sec. Vic. Branch 1968-1971; State Sec. Vic. Branch, 1972-1991; Elected National Vice-President, 1968; National President, 1970-1995;
  • From 1970s union's internal dynamics changed from being described at the time as 'conservative, undynamic and defensive' with influx of new members growing from 57,000 Australia-wide in 1971 to about 250,000 in 2009; Challenges to control of SDA occurred nationally in mid-1970s, including challenges to Maher's leadership which he sustained;
  • Joined ALP as a teenager; Resigned in mid-1950s during the time of old alliances splitting; Also SDA, Victorian Branch disaffiliated from ALP at the time and didn't re-join until 1984 in Maher's latter period as State secretary; Unclear as to whether Maher joined Democratic Labor Party, but nevertheless supported its position similar to many politically active Catholics in Victoria at the time;
  • Represented union on study tour of US and Europe, 1955; SDA Rep. Food Group on Executive of Victorian THC; Executive member, ACTU 1980-1993 and five years as vice-president. In this capacity Maher promoted financial and moral support to the Polish union and social movement, Solidarnosc (Solidarity). SDA sponsored several visits of Solidarnosc leaders to Australia in 1980s;
  • Rep. on World Exec. Committee of international union federation, FIET;
  • Founding member, Retail Employees Superannuation Trust Scheme and remained active until 2008 when he stood down as director;
  • Awarded Order of Australia; Honoured by Polish Government

Shop Assistant, March 1977 p.7; Sydney Morning Herald, 'Timelines', 4 January 2010.

Other Entries for James Bernard (Jim) Maher

Additional Resources

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Maher, James Bernard (Jim) (1927–2009)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/maher-james-bernard-jim-31945/text39409, accessed 2 August 2021.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012