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Daniel John (Dan) O'Connell (1879–1944)

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Daniel John Joseph (Dan) O'Connell (1879-1944) telegraphist and trade union official

Birth: 10 June 1879 at South Melbourne, son of Daniel O’Connell (1834-1902) and Isabella Mary, née Flanagan (1841-1919). Both parents had been born in County Clare, Ireland. Marriage: 1905 at Northcote, Melbourne, to native-born Helen Margaret Lanphier (1877-1958). They had two sons and two daughters. Death: 10 May 1944 in his residence at Beaver Street, Essendon, Melbourne. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Telegraph messenger with Victorian Postal Service at Brighton, Melbourne, in 1892 and soon transferred to Albert Park. Bicycle pillar clearer 1898-1911? Qualified for promotion in postal side of service in, and later was promoted to senior postal clerk at, Hawthorn.
  • Moved to Telegraph Branch in Melbourne and became acting telegraphist in 1916 and, after passing clerical exam, was appointed telegraphist, a position he held until retirement. Retired in 1943 but agreed to work as a temporary telegraphist while wartime need existed.
  • Had joined Postal and Telegraphists Association and subsequently became foundation member of the Federated Assistants' Association and held position of executive member including secretary. Represented Victorian branch as delegate.
  • Member, Victorian committee and branch committee when Third Division Postal Clerks’ and Telegraphists Union was formed. Editor of the Australian Telegraphist in 1926-1929. General secretary, Third Division Postal Clerks’ and Telegraphists Union, 1929-1943.
  • Advocate in Industrial Court from 1929 to 1943, with duties including representing postal clerks and senior postal clerks in 1930 before the Public Service Arbitrator, presenting a case involving temporary employment before a Parliamentary Committee and participating in conferences with Departmental representatives over the issue of meal breaks. Appeared before Public Service Arbitrator in cases involving time-in-lieu, travelling allowance and award conditions including a notable case in 1939 of gaining substantial increases in pay for postal clerks and senior postal clerks.
  • Represented union on High Council of Commonwealth Public Service Organisations for fourteen years and held offices of president and vice-president. Gained life membership of union.
  • Advocate obituary described him as “a man of character and kindliness . . . deeply religious”.
  • Cause of death: cerebral haemorrhage (4 hours) and heart failure (1 hour).

Telegraphist, 20 August 1937 p 3, 20 May 1944 pp 3-4; Australian Postal Clerk, 29 May 1944, 28 July 1943, p 22.

Additional Resources

  • photo, Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne), 29 September 1933, p 12

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'O'Connell, Daniel John (Dan) (1879–1944)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


10 June, 1879
South Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


10 May, 1944 (aged 64)
Essendon, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

brain hemorrhage

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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.

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