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Francis Patrick (Frank) Rooney (1914–2005)

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Francis Patrick (Frank) Rooney (1914-2005) fitter and turner, trade unionist and political activist

Birth: 18 April 1914 at Gresford, New South Wales, son of native-born parents William Joseph Rooney (1878-1954), upholsterer and dairy farmer, and Mary Agnes (Ciss), née Cronin (1885-1966). Marriage: 1941 at Kogarah, Sydney, to Sydney-born Beryl Irene Hubbard (1917-2007). They had two daughters and one son, all of whom died in infancy. Death: 12 July 2005 at Wyong, NSW. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Staunch Catholic. Launched single-handed campaign against Communism in union.
  • About 1936 set up his own motor car business at West Maitland until the war affected this trade. In 1940 he moved to Newcastle and became a fitter and turner at the Dyke End workshops in the State Dockyard. Joined the Georgetown-Waratah branch of the Australian Labor Party.
  • Stood as endorsed ALP candidate for central ward in the Newcastle City Council election in December 1944. After the war he ran a small steel furniture factory.
  • Linked up with Santamaria’s Catholic Social Studies Movement in 1946 in the Newcastle area. Became country organiser for Industrial Groups in the ALP in mid-1952. Recruited Harry Hurrell to Federated Ironworkers’ Association (FIA), Newcastle branch, in 1949. Was an upholsterer in Newcastle.
  • Delegate to Newcastle Trades Hall Council. Delegate for Furnishing Trades Union to 1952 and for Federated Clerks’ Union, from 1952 to about 1956. Northern Organiser for the ALP 1952-1956(?). Associate of J. Hare and G. E. McGuirk.
  • Expelled from ALP in August 1956. Was assistant secretary of the Democratic Labor Party in 1957. Lived in Loftus, NSW, for the rest of his life, giving his occupation in electoral rolls as “organiser”.
  • Probably not an important Movement activist in the Industrial Groups in the FIA.

Robert Murray, The Split; Australian Labor in the Fifties (Melbourne, 1970); Robert Murray and Kate White, The ironworkers: a history of the Federated Ironworkers’ Association of Australia (Sydney, c1982).

Additional Resources

  • profile, Newcastle Morning Herald (NSW), 28 November 1944, p 2
  • profile, Newcastle Sun (NSW), 29 November 1944, p 6
  • profile, Daily Mirror (Sydney), 5 November 1952, p 8

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Rooney, Francis Patrick (Frank) (1914–2005)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Frank Rooney, c.1944

Frank Rooney, c.1944

Newcastle Morning Herald (NSW), 28 November 1944, p 2

Life Summary [details]


18 April, 1914
Gresford, New South Wales, Australia


12 July, 2005 (aged 91)
Wyong, New South Wales, Australia

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 Organisations
Political Activism