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George Thomas Mulholland (1905–1990)

This article was published:

George Mulholland, n.d.

George Mulholland, n.d.

Claude Thomas George Mulholland (known as George Thomas Mulholland and alias Jack Brown) (1905-1990) miner, activist for Aboriginal rights and Communist 

Birth: 10 December 1905 at Mortdale, Sydney, New South Wales, son of native-born parents Claude Henry Sidney Mulholland (1880-1965), fettler, and Isabella Ethel, née Hardy (18878-1973). Marriages: (1) 22 July 1929 in Queensland, to Joyce Beryl Kolberg (1906-1977); (2) after a long de facto relationship, about 1978 at Sydney to Minnie Doreen Phillips (1916-2006), born at Wickham, Newcastle. They had two daughters and five sons. Death: 1 August 1990 in Wallsend District Hospital, usual residence Croudace Road, Elermore Vale, NSW. 

  • Had little formal education. Parents separated when he was young. He spent his childhood as a ward of NSW Child Welfare Dept. and as a young man got into trouble with police, involving time in prison.
  • As a teenager he looked for work in NSW and Qld, and meanwhile gained financial assistance from state homes called 'youth farms' including Iandra near Grenfell.
  • Member of the Communist Party of Australia from about 1925.
  • Deserted from the Royal Australian Garrison Artillery, Georges Heights, Sydney, in February 1927. No further action notified in July 1927.
  • Active in 1930s in anti-eviction activities in Sydney and fought the New Guard both verbally and physically.
  • Participated in a large waterside workers' demonstration in Melbourne in 1928, which protested against non-union labour. He took hold of a baton from a policeman who was using it against a protester, was found hiding in a public toilet, arrested, broke free of the cell by picking a door, escaped and gave himself up fifty-eight years later in 1986.
  • In 1928 he was in Alice Springs where he witnessed the poor conditions of Aboriginal people. Also heard about a large-scale, recent massacre of forty-two Aboriginal people outside of the town by a police party. Alerted church people and returned to Melbourne where he got articles published in the Melbourne Argus and Age, which covered the massacre and treatment of Indigenous people in Alice Springs.
  • He travelled to Sydney and had similar articles published in the Smith's Weekly and Workers Weekly, which was the forerunner to the Tribune.
  • Returned to his home in Beresford, near Maitland, and had articles published in the Newcastle Morning Herald. This led to a federal inquiry later in 1928 which found his allegations proven but said that the massacre was the result of a justified punitive police action.
  • Gold miner at Bingara and continued working life in various short-time positions including prospecting and travelling around the country sharpening scissors, cut-throat razors, knives and lawn mower blades.
  • Complained in Bingara about police irregularities and led community actions which resulted in an inquiry and subsequent demotion of some of the police officers. Studied the 'Myall Massacre' of Aboriginal people in the Bingara area and committed to a life-long campaign for Aboriginal advancement including land rights, voting rights and other democratic rights.
  • Member of Newcastle Trades Hall Council Aboriginal Advancement Committee in 1960.
  • Cause of death: cardiac failure (days), ischaemic heart disease (years), atherosclerosis (years), pneumonia (days), chronic obstructive airways disease (years).

(Sydney), 22 April 1987 p 10, 22 August 1990 p 11.

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Citation details

'Mulholland, George Thomas (1905–1990)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

George Mulholland, n.d.

George Mulholland, n.d.

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Brown, Jack
  • Mulholland, Claude Thomas

10 December, 1905
Mortdale, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


1 August, 1990 (aged 84)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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.

Key Events
Key Places
Political Activism