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John Victor Ryan (1890–1974)

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John Victor Ryan (1890-1974) baker, trade union official, Labor activist and Australian Senator 

Birth: 2 December 1890 at the Destitute Asylum, Adelaide, South Australia, son of native-born Rose Lattin (1869-1948). Later she married native-born John Joseph Ryan (1860-1922), a labourer and took his surname. Marriage: 17 March 1924 at Maughan Methodist, Church, Adelaide, to Edith Laura Grivelle. They had two daughters and four sons. Death: 13 October 1974 at his home in the Adelaide suburb of Black Forest. Religion: Protestant. 

  • Always known as Ryan, he registered his name by deed poll in about 1956.
  • Educated at Grote Street Public [primary] School. After only elementary education he was apprenticed with Menz Biscuits of Adelaide and worked as a baker.
  • Became assistant secretary of the Baking Trade Employees Federation in 1921 and was secretary from 1928 to 1952. Trustee of Adelaide Trades Hall from 1928 to 1968.
  • About 1930 became active in the Australian Labor Party. At first allied with the J. T. Lang group, he was expelled from the official ALP in 1931 but readmitted in 1932. Was campaign director for Frank Walsh, later premier of SA, in all elections from 1938 to 1950.
  • In December 1949 Federal elections Ryan won a seat in the Australian Senate, which he took up on 22 February 1950. Member of Select Committee on the Development of Canberra 1954-55 and Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory 1957-58. Losing preselection, he retired from the Senate on 30 June 1959.
  • A keen sportsman, he was an outstanding footballer, a grade cricketer and a football coach.

Who’s Who in Australia 1951-1965; L. F. Crisp & S. P. Bennett, Australian Labor Party: federal personnel 1901-1954, (Canberra, 1954); Jim Moss, Sound of trumpets: history of the labour movement in South Australia (Cowandilla, 1985); correspondence; Maureen Chan, John Victor Ryan, in Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate,

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'Ryan, John Victor (1890–1974)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012