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John (Jack) Pocock (1897–1969)

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Pocock, John ‘Jack’ (1897-1969) coalminer and trade union leader 

Birth: 13 March 1897 at Ipswich, Queensland, twelfth of seventeen children of English-born parents Oliver Pocock (1853-1920), a dairy farmer from Bridgwater, Somerset, and Ann Elizabeth, née Rolley (1863-1931) from Bonsall, Derbyshire. Marriage: 10 January 1925 at Ipswich, to native-born Merle Morrison (1905-1990). They had two daughters and two sons. Death: 13 January 1969 in hospital at Ipswich, Queensland. 

  • After father accidentally poisoned dairy herd (1905), did cotton-picking after school to assist family income. At 11 left school to work on dairy farm.
  • Followed older brothers into coalmining aged 13 in 1910, commencing as surface worker at Abermain, West Moreton fields, Queensland. Worked mostly as an underground miner in Ipswich District. Also worked for several years in Rosewood and for a short period in Torbanlea.
  • Participated in Tramways Strike for eight-hour day c.1911. Elected Queensland district check inspector for Miners' Federation in 1935, initially travelling around by pushbike. Retained position until retirement in 1957.
  • Served for a period as Queensland Colliery Employees' Union vice-president. Following denial of access to mine after fatal explosion at Hart's Aberdare mine in 1936, campaigned successfully for legislative authority for mine inspectors to inspect any mine in State and for government assistance for travel expenses incurred by inspectors (1939).
  • Claimed to have helped establish first Ipswich Women's Auxiliary of Miners' Federation in 1936.
  • Prominent in campaign for improved mine ventilation in late 1930s.
  • Cause of death: bilateral pneumonia, chronic pancreatitis, diverticulitis, chronic pyelonephritis and abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Pete Thomas, The coalminers of Queensland: a narrative history of the Queensland Colliery Employees Union. Volume 1 Creating the traditions (Ipswich, 1986); Common Cause, 30 March 1957, p 5, 6 April 1957, p 7.

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Citation details

'Pocock, John (Jack) (1897–1969)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 28 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


13 March, 1897
Ipswich, Queensland, Australia


13 January, 1969 (aged 71)
Ipswich, Queensland, Australia

Cause of Death


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.

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