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Patrick (Pat) McGarry (1863–1930)

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Patrick McGarry, n.d.

Patrick McGarry, n.d.

Patrick (Pat or Paddy) McGarry (1863-1930) quarryman, alluvial miner, trade union official and politician

Birth: 1863 at Kildalkey, County Meath, Ireland, son of Bernard McGarry, farmer, and Mary, née Loughlin. Marriage: 17 January 1900 in St Patrick’s Church, Sydney, New South Wales, to Mary Frances Myres (c.1870-1954), an Irish-born servant. They had two daughters and one son. Death: 23 December 1930 at Hunters Hill, Sydney, NSW. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Active in Land League in Ireland. Went to United States of America in about 1885 and worked for four years in Boston, Massachusetts. Held various offices in Knights of Labor.
  • Arrived in New South Wales in 1890 during maritime strike and helped organise seamen on ships between Melbourne and Sydney. Went to Gundagai Goldfields. Worked for a time in northern sugar district.
  • Returned to Sydney about 1900. Was vice-president of the Wharf Laborers’ Union for two years. Member of the Eight Hour Committee in 1901. Vice-chairman Balmain Political Labor League, member of the Australian Labor Party’s central executive from 1902 to 1905.
  • Unexpectedly won the seat of Murrumbidgee for Labor on 6 August 1904. Described as “rugged but picturesque … with bushy eyebrows, a smile that never wore off and a richly musical brogue” Member of the Public Works Committee from 1914 to 1917. Royal Commissioner Border Railways 1916.
  • From about 1913 “chafed under party domination … upon many questions”. Though he claimed that he opposed conscription, on 10 November 1916 he voted against newly elected leader Ernest Durack’s motion of censure against premier Holman and was expelled from the ALP. Retained Murrumbidgee as an accredited Nationalist candidate on 24 March 1917. Was defeated for Murrumbidgee as an Independent Nationalist on 18 February 1920.
  • Commissioned as justice of the peace in 1908. Reputedly made money dealing in suburban land after defeat but died impoverished.
  • Described by Freeman’s Journal as “a sterling Catholic and a fervent Irishman” who worked zealously in the cause of Catholic orphanages; for over twenty years he was actively involved in St Brigid’s Orphanage. A life member of the Hibernian Australasian Catholic Benefit Society.
  • Cause of death: diabetes mellitus and chronic nephritis.
  • Three brothers-in-law served in the Australian Imperial Force in France, one, Private W. Myers was wounded in 1916.

Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt & Elizabeth Hinton, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); Labour History, 55, p.27, p.35-36; Sydney Morning Herald, 2 September 1991, p 13.

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'McGarry, Patrick (Pat) (1863–1930)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Patrick McGarry, n.d.

Patrick McGarry, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


Kildalkey, Meath, Ireland


23 December, 1930 (aged ~ 67)
Hunters Hill, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

kidney disease

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.

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