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John McInnes (1878–1950)

This article was published:

John McInnes, n.d.

John McInnes, n.d.

John McInnes (1878-1950) railway worker, trade union official, parliamentarian and Speaker of House of Assembly 

Birth: 23 April 1878 at Barnhill, Glasgow, Scotland, son of John Hamilton McInnes (1847-1912), pit sinker, later machinist, and his first wife Margaret, née Baird (1852-1882), farm servant. Marriage: 17 April 1902 at Hindmarsh, South Australia, to native-born Clara Emily Griffin (1878-1962). They had two daughters. Death: 30 September 1950 in his residence at Robert Street, Croydon, SA. 

  • Arrived in South Australia in 1879. His father was a pioneer of the Labor movement in the colony and a horticulturist, specialising in carnations. John’s elder brother Archie (1875-1949) became a boilermaker and trade union leader.
  • Young John was educated at Unley State School. Became a railway worker. Secretary of the SA Government Workers’ Association from 1905 to 1911.
  • President of the Trades and Labor Council in 1908. General secretary of the Liquor Trades’ Employees’ Federation from 1914 to 1924. Justice of the peace by 1917.
  • Member of the Croydon and Hindmarsh Australian Labor Party committee for over 45 years and president of the State branch of the party from 1927 to 1929. Member of the State Children’s Council.
  • Member of the House of Assembly for West Torrens from 6 April 1918 to 13 August 1938 and for Hindmarsh from 1938 to March 1950, when he retired.
  • Mayor of Hindmarsh from 1933 to 1939. Played a prominent part in introducing diphtheria immunisation in the town.
  • Speaker in the House of Assembly from 24 July 1924 to 27 August 1926. Minister of Railways, Minister for Industry and Commissioner Public Works from 1926-1927. Minister of Labour and Employment 1930-1931; Minister of Industry and Commissioner Public Works 1930-1933.
  • With the Premier L. L. Hill and other parliamentarians he was expelled from the ALP in 1931. Was a member — sometime vice-president — of the ‘Parliamentary Labor Party’ under Hill and R. S. Richards. In the general election on 8 April April 1933 the Hill government was defeated. Richards and McInnes were the only cabinet ministers to be re-elected.
  • In 1934 the party reunited. McInnes was made a life member of the local ALP committee in July 1949.
  • A keen supporter of West Torrens Football Club, he was its president for many years.
  • Cause of death: chronic nephritis and prostatic hypertrophy.

Howard Coxon, John Playford & Robert Reid, Biographical Register of the South Australian Parliament 1857-1957 (Adelaide, 1985).

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'McInnes, John (1878–1950)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 June 2024.

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