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John Sidney (Sid) Toohey (1881–1952)

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John Sidney (Sid) Toohey (1881-1952) printer and trade union official 

Birth: 1881 at Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria, and registered as John Sydney, son of native-born parents Patrick Toohey (1859-1934), bootmaker, and Mary, née Dooley (1856-1897). Marriage: 1908 at Melbourne to native-born Florence Lillian Boston (1881-1944). They had two daughters and three sons. Death: 12 January 1952 in hospital at St Kilda, Melbourne. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Employed at Troedel and Company.
  • Board member, vice-president and president of the Melbourne Typographical Society (MTS). Secretary of MTS in 1912. When MTS (or VTS) amalgamated with the Printing  Industry Employees Union of Australia (PIEUA) in 1921 he continued as assistant secretary-treasurer of Victorian PIEUA until 1932.
  • Secretary, Social Democratic Party when a young adult.
  • Following death of Robert Elliot he was secretary of PIEUA from 1932 to 1951 (retired). Federal councillor from 1926. Member of Federal Executive from 1933 including vice-president, advocate and acting secretary-treasurer. Active in gaining substantial increases in wages and conditions, including a 44-hour-week between 1920 and 1928.
  • Known as a skilful debater and negotiator.
  • Director of Industrial Printing and Publicity Co. Ltd. for 20 years and was later chairman (until his death).
  • Secretary of Balwyn lodge of the Manchester Unity Order for many years and helped establish the Canterbury United Friendly Societies’ Dispensary.
  • Labor candidate for State seat of Nunawading, a ‘true-blue anti-Labor’ seat, in 1927.
  • Cause of death: cerebral haemorrhage and bronchopneumonia.

Printing Trades Journal,
8 September 1925, 12 April 1932, May 1950; Labor Call (Melbourne), 17 January 1952, p 2.

Additional Resources

  • photo, Herald (Melbourne), 7 April 1927, p 6

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Toohey, John Sidney (Sid) (1881–1952)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


12 January, 1952 (aged ~ 71)
St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death


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