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Patrick (Pat) McHenry (1896–1965)

This article was published:

Pat McHenry. n.d.

Pat McHenry. n.d.

Patrick (Pat) McHenry (1896-1965) coalminer, iron worker, trade union official and Communist

Birth: 1896 at Cleator, Cumberland, England, son of Irish-born parents John McHenry (c.1861-1926), grocer, and Ellen, née Martin (c.1859-1948). Marriage: 1922 at Wollongong, New South Wales, to Jane Suddick (1901-1980), born at Low Fell, Gateshead, England. They had one daughter and three sons. Death: 4 August 1965 in his usual residence at Hampton Court Road, Carlton, NSW. Religion: buried with no service. 

  • In the 1911 England census, aged 15, living with his family at Cleator, Cumberland, he was described as “apprentice clerk employed in a Factory, (thread)”; his father was unemployed and his three siblings were at school.
  • Arrived in Australia, apparently without any family, in 1920. Was a coalminer from about 1920 to about 1927. Worked for Metal Manufacturers for three years.
  • Unemployed for five years during the Great Depression. Was a loyal member of the Communist Party of Australia from the time he joined in the early 1930s until his death. Worked at steelworks, in open hearth department, Port Kembla, in 1936.
  • Joined Federated Ironworkers’ Association (FIA) in 1936. Involved in strike action four days after starting work at steelworks and joined the Strike and Relief Committees. Secretary of FIA Port Kembla branch 1938.
  • Secretary and president of FIA State Council. General president of FIA. National vice-president and secretary of the FIA, NSW, State Council during 1940s.
  • Delegate of the Metal Trades Union to the International Labour Organization’s Iron and Steel Committee conference, Cleveland United States of America, in 1946.
  • With other Communists he was forced out of his union post by Laurie Short’s group in 1952. Occupation late in life was “secretary manager”.
  • Cause of death: carcinoma of lung. Ernie Thornton gave the funeral oration.

Playford thesis p.425; Labor News (Sydney), April 1946 p 4.

Additional Resources

  • photo, Workers' Weekly (Sydney), 10 January 1939, p 1
  • is to visit America, Tribune (Sydney), 2 April 1946, p 7
  • photo, Newcastle Morning Herald (NSW), 10 May 1950, p 5

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'McHenry, Patrick (Pat) (1896–1965)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Pat McHenry. n.d.

Pat McHenry. n.d.

Life Summary [details]


Cleator, Cumbria, England


4 August, 1965 (aged ~ 69)
Carlton, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (lung)

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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism