John Henry O'Neil

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John Henry O'Neil

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  • Jack O'Neil

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John Henry (Jack) O'Neil (1888-1971) was known as the King of the Tasmanian Trades Union movement. He was secretary of the Hobart Trades Hall Council 1927-1968 (except for a break due to ill health 1958-62) and was a foundation member and Vice-President of the A.C.T.U. He first joined the Caters and Drivers' Union at 18 in 1907 and he was a member of its Wages Board in 1911. He was State Secretary of several unions, namely: Carters and Drivers 1916-1942, Storemen and Packers 1917-1951, Electricity 1917-1953, Gas Employees 1918-1951, Federated Confectioners 1944-1968 and also of the Meat Industries and the Miscellaneous Workers unions and he was secretary to the 8 Hour Day Committee from 1921. He was an Associate Commissioner of the Hydro-Electric Commission 1954-1970 and was a Justice of the Peace.

Jack O'Neil was born in Hobart on 30 August 1888 and attended Thomas Mitchell's St. Mary's Boys School, where he was a member of the 12 boy squad which did exhibitions of military drilling using Enfield muzzle loading carbine rifles (see Mercury 24.7.64). In 1905 he married Florence Mabel Stead and they had 4 children: John James, Daphne Edna (Mrs A. Hughes), Phyllis Jean and Maxwell.


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