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Murphy, Edward Hartnett (Ned) (1858–1926)

by Chris Cunneen

Qld shearers strike leaders, 1893 [Murphy is seated second from right end of second row from top]

Qld shearers strike leaders, 1893 [Murphy is seated second from right end of second row from top]

State Library of Qld, 64845

Edward Hartnett ('Ned') Murphy  (1858-1926) labourer, gaoled trade union official, boundary rider

Birth: reputedly 12 December 1858 in Ardgroom, Cork, Ireland, son of Edward Murphy, inspector of schools, and Mary, née Hartnett. Marriage: 22 October 1884, with Catholic rites, at Lagoon Creek, near Roma, Queensland, to Agnes McKenzie (1853-1932), laundress, who was born in Craig, Perth, Scotland. They had two daughters and three sons. Death: 22 April 1926 in hospital at Derby, Western Australia. Religion: Anglican.

  • Arrived at Brisbane, Queensland, as assistant immigrant aboard Queen of Nations on 19 September 1876.
  • In 1884 he was working as a shearer at Roma.
  • Active in Queensland Shearers' Union. With Alec Forrester, helped form Maranoa branch of Queensland Labourers’ Union in January 1891 and was branch secretary. Co-ordinated local strike action during 1891 shearers' strike, urging formation of mobile patrols to combat blacklegs.
  • In March 1891 was arrested at Roma on conspiracy charge. Tried, with others, before Judge George Harding at Rockhampton April-May 1891. Convicted and sentenced to three years hard labour and to find sureties of £100 himself and two others each of £50 to be good behaviour for one year on discharge.
  • Prison records indicate he could read and write, was 5 ft 7 inches (170 cm) in height, of medium build with dark complexion, black hair and brown eyes. His left arm was crooked. While he was in prison Murphy’s wife was paid £2 per week by the Queensland Labourers’ Union. He was released on 17 November 1893.
  • Abandoning his family in Roma, Queensland, about 1896, Murphy later moved to the Northern Territory, then worked in the Kimberley district, Western Australia and as a boundary rider at Myroodah station, Derby.
  • Cause of death was given as "heart failure, dilated heart dropsy (3 months)".
  • His youngest son David Alexander Murphy enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 29 May 1916 and was killed in action at Polygon Wood on 26 September 1917.

Source
Stuart Svensen, The Shearers' War: the story of the 1891 shearers' strike (Brisbane, 1989).

Additional Resources

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Murphy, Edward Hartnett (Ned) (1858–1926)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/murphy-edward-hartnett-ned-32310/text40005, accessed 4 July 2022.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Qld shearers strike leaders, 1893 [Murphy is seated second from right end of second row from top]

Qld shearers strike leaders, 1893 [Murphy is seated second from right end of second row from top]

State Library of Qld, 64845