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Allan McDougall (1857–1924)

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Allan Mcdougall, by T. Humphrey & Co., 1910s

Allan Mcdougall, by T. Humphrey & Co., 1910s

National Library of Australia, 23474691

Allan McDougall  (1857-1924) boilermaker, trade union leader and senator 

Birth: 2 August 1857 at Pyrmont, New South Wales, son of Allan McDougall (1826-1911), mariner later foreman-boilermaker at the Australian Steam Navigation Company, and Catherine, née Keith (1826-1905). Both parents had been born in Jura, Argyll, Scotland. Marriage: 26 July 1884 in Sydney to native-born Sarah Cheeseman (1861-1932). They had one daughter and four sons. Death: 14 October 1924 in hospital at Darlinghurst, Sydney. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • Primary school education. Apprenticed boilermaker with Australian Steam Navigation Co. Boilermaker at Mort & Co., Balmain, for many years.
  • Joined Boilermakers’ Society in 1869? (alternative source states that the Sydney branch was inaugurated in 1873 and he joined shortly afterwards). President 1897-1902 and secretary from 1903 until January 1909, when Gilbert Sinclair was appointed to the — now permanent — position.
  • Prominent in the Sydney Eight Hours Demonstration Committee as his union’s representative, sometime president and, from about 1901 to 1910, secretary. He and his colleague E. W. Cutler were credited with much of the demonstrations’ successes during their periods of office.
  • President of Pyrmont Labor League and executive member of the NSW Political Labor League. Unsuccessful Labor candidate for the Senate in 1906.
  • In 1909, as secretary of the Federal Council of Boilermakers of Australia, he was sent to Melbourne to interview the Federal Defence Minister, over the decision to build two destroyers in England, rather than Australia.
  • Elected Labor Senator for NSW on 13 April 1910. Was defeated in December 1919 elections, Re-elected in 1922 he remained a senator until his death.
  • Member of the Royal Commission on National Insurance 1923. Member, joint committee on public accounts 1917-19. Deputy chairman of committees 1913 and 1923. Chairman of the select committee on Fitzroy Dock. Member of the committee on Mount Balfour Post Office 1915. Member of the select committee on the case of Warrant Officer Allen 1923. Director of sports.
  • In 1917, he was tried and acquitted for an alleged breach of the War Precautions Act after a speech regarding voting in the conscription referendum.
  • Keen supporter of cricket, football, boxing and horse racing. Executive member, president then patron of the NSW League of Wheelmen and patron of Glebe District Rugby League Football Club.
  • A Freemason, he was a member of the Lodge Antiquity, No. 1, United Grand Lodge of NSW.

Joan Rydon (ed), A biographical register of the Commonwealth Parliament 1901-1972 (ANU Press, 1975); Official Souvenir for the Eight-Hour Demonstrations, 1900; Worker (Wagga), 10 May 1906, p 2; Federated Society of Boilermakers' and Iron Shipbuilders of Australia, Quarterly Report, Dec 1924; obituary, Australian Worker (Sydney), 15 October 1924, p 18; Labor Daily (Sydney), 15 October 1924, p 1, 16 October 1924, p 6 and 17 October 1924, p 4.

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Citation details

'McDougall, Allan (1857–1924)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Allan Mcdougall, by T. Humphrey & Co., 1910s

Allan Mcdougall, by T. Humphrey & Co., 1910s

National Library of Australia, 23474691

Life Summary [details]


2 August, 1857
Pyrmont, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


14 October, 1924 (aged 67)
Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, 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

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