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Patrick David (Pat) McGarry (1924–1992)

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Patrick David (Pat) McGarry (1924-1992) tailor and trade union official 

Birth: 30 December 1924 at Redcliffe, Queensland, son of James Joseph McGarry (1883-1941), butcher, born at Dublin, Ireland, and Harriett (Hart), née Brazier (1887-1976), born at Croydon, Surrey, England. Marriage: 7 April 1947 at Brisbane to Queensland-born Dulcie Florence Spencer (1923-2011). They had two daughters and two sons. Death: 19 October 1992 in Mount Olivet Hospital, Kangaroo Point, Queensland. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Prior to 1943 he had attended courses as a flight rigger and fitter with the Royal Australian Air Force.
  • Was an apprenticed tailor with Christison & Burnett, in Adelaide Street, Brisbane, when he enlisted in the RAAF on 19 January 1943. Served as leading aircraftman in Queensland and New South Wales. Demobilized on 13 March 1946.
  • After his discharge he completed his indenture. A devout Catholic, Pat was anti-communist and a supporter of the breakaway Queensland Labor Party.
  • In 1957 he organised campaign of opposition to long-time secretary of the Queensland branch of the Clothing & Allied Trades' Union, Bill Sparks. Declined offer of organiser's job.
  • In April 1958 he successfully moved motion of no confidence in Spark's leadership, precipitating federal intervention and Spark's resignation.
  • Elected branch secretary in January 1959, but was left politically isolated by decline of Grouper influence in other branches. Remained sympathetic to Democratic Labor Party. May have retired in 1970s.
  • Cause of death: malignant melanoma.

Bradon Ellem, In women’s hands? A history of clothing trades unionism in Australia (Sydney, 1989).

Additional Resources

Citation details

'McGarry, Patrick David (Pat) (1924–1992)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Pat McGarry, 1943

Pat McGarry, 1943

National Archives of Australia, A9301, 123352

Life Summary [details]


30 December, 1924
Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia


19 October, 1992 (aged 67)
Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (skin)

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.

Military Service
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