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Neilly, George Henry (1917–1987)

George Henry Neilly (1917-1987) labor politician

Birth: 3 March 1917, Kurri Kurri, New South Wales. Son of Thomas William Neilly, carter, and Elsie nee Fenwick. Marriage: Lola Wood, 1942. They had one son and one daughter. Death: 6 May 1987, Cessnock, New South Wales.

  • Grandfather, George Neilly snr, a member of Delegate Board of Colliery Employees' Federation, was gaoled during 1909-10 coal strike and subsequently forced to leave mining after suffering serious back injury at Pelaw main.
  • G. Neilly jnr educated at Maitland High on scholarship.
  • Entered mines 1934.
  • Served RAN 1939-44, HMAS Australia, stoker;
  • Secretary, Abermain RSL 1944-46. Secretary, Abermain No.1 miners' lodge 19?;
  • Industrial advocate for Miners' Federation.
  • Joined Labor Party 1949.
  • During latter stages of 1949 coal strike played prominent part in move against continuance of strike;
  • 1950 defeated Jim Comerford for presidency of Northern District of Miners' Federation; January 1954 elected general secretary of Federation, retaining position until February 1959 (did not seek re-election);
  • aggressively anti-communist, but during presidency worked amicably with communist general president Bill Parkinson, permitting a positive and effective union stance on industrial and most political issues.
  • Member, Labor Party central executive 1953-54. Member, Legislative Council, NSW, September 1954 (casual vacancy)—February 1959 (resigned); Member, Legislative Assembly, NSW, for Cessnock March 1959-78.

Heather Radi, Peter Spearrit and Elizabeth Hinton, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); Edgar Ross, A History of the Miners' Federation of Australia (Sydney, 1970); Andrew Metcalfe, For Freedom and Dignity: Historical agency and class structures in the coalfields of NSW (Sydney 1988). 

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Citation details

'Neilly, George Henry (1917–1987)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/neilly-george-henry-31974/text39449, accessed 28 July 2021.

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