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Albert McNolty (1893–1969)

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Albert McNolty (1893-1969) sheet metal worker and trade union official 

Birth: 1 August 1893 at South Melbourne, Victoria, son of Benjamin Walter McNolty (1869-1936), labourer, sometime Waterside Workers’ Federation president, born in London, England, and Amelia Margaret, née Russell (1863-1939), born at Footscray, Melbourne. Marriage: 23 February 1918 at St James’s Anglican cathedral, Melbourne, to Alice Ethel Nelson (1894-1982), born at South Melbourne. They had one daughter and two sons. Death: 4 August 1969 at Coburg, Melbourne. 

  • Educated in state school in South Melbourne. Started work in sheet metal trade in 1907.
  • Joined Sheet Metal Workers’ Union (SMWU), 1915. Member of the union’s board of management, and was active in anti-conscription campaign during World War I.
  • Branch organiser of the SMWU in 1933. Assistant secretary of the Victorian branch from 1935-1954; secretary from 1954 to 1967 when he retired due to illness.
  • Had participated in meetings conducted by English Socialist, Tom Mann, in Melbourne. Joined the Australian Labor Party in 1904 and was bell-ringer for meetings in a municipal elections campaign.
  • President of Victorian branch of ALP from 1959. Treasurer, ALP Victorian branch, until 1966. Delegate to ALP Federal conferences. Federal executive member of the ALP.
  • President of Melbourne Trades Hall Council in 1948. Executive member of Melbourne THC for some twenty-two years. Federal councillor of SMWU for several years.
  • Federal secretary of the SMWU from about 1936 — in combination with Victorian branch role until 1962 — and retired from federal secretary position when it was made full-time.
  • Member of the interstate executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions 1957-1961.
  • Represented Australian trade union movement at conferences of International Labour Organization, Geneva, in 1949 and 1952.
  • Foundation member and president of the Victorian Metal Trades Federation of Unions for twenty-five years. Federal Council member of the Metal Trades Federation of Unions.
  • Participated in anti-war work and civil liberty campaigns. Provided support for the cause of Aborigines. Assisted in raising funds for the needs of immigrant workers. Obituaries described him as the “grand old man” of the Victorian Labor and trade union movements. Another recorded that “he was a sincere friend of the Jewish people … and helped to fight discrimination against migrants”.
  • Cause of death: myocardial degeneration (2 weeks), myocardial infarction (5 weeks), atherosclerosis (years) and bronchopneumonia (10 days).

Sheet Metal Worker
, April 1946, p 3, October 1969, p 3; Sun, 28 September 1950, 15 June 1959, 1 October 1963 p 9, 18 October 1967, 6 August 196; Herald, 18 February 1954, 11 June 1960, 5 August 1969; Age, 6 June 1947, 14 October 1948, 9 June 1966, 6 August 1969; Australian, 6 August 1969; Newcastle Morning Herald, 6 August 1969; ARU, 34th meeting of Australian Council, April 1970.

Additional Resources

  • photo, Brisbane Telegraph, 4 June 1948, p 2
  • photo, Tribune (Sydney), 2 October 1957, p 1
  • photo, Tribune (Sydney), 18 October 1961, p 9

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Citation details

'McNolty, Albert (1893–1969)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012