George Francis McGowan

McGOWAN, George Francis (1875? – 1931)


  1. 1875? D. 2 Jan. 1931


Apprenticeship, Printer and Compositor with Kilmore Advertiser; Manager, Moira Independent and Walhalla Times and Walhalla Miner?; Moved to Riverina and worked on Berrigan Advocate; Later he managed the Tungamah Independent; Sec. local Progress Assoc. (while working on the Berrigan Advocate), which worked in the capacity of a town council; Sec. of Berrigan Railway League and attempted to persuade NSW Govt. to connect Riverina railways with Victoria at either Cobram or Tocumwal but despite much effort was unsucessful; Participated in yeoman service to establish Murray River Main Channel League, which attempted to lock the Murray River for irrigation for the Riverina and northern Vic.; Joined sales staff, Singer Sewing Machine Co. in the Wimmera? and became co. rep for Riverina, c. 1900; Won all of his firm’s prizes for sales; Organised for Labor at Horsham and his political enemies sent letters to his employer stating that he should be dismissed for injuring the firm’s business; Resulted in co. offering him a position in the Ballarat district of Vic., but instead he resigned from the company; Presented with a substantial cheque by friends in the Riverina district for their appreciation; Moved to Geelong and for T&G Insurance in Western District of Vic., 1905-1913; Assisted J.K McDougall to win seat of Wannon for Labor, 1905 or 1906; Unsuccessfully contested seats of Lowan 1911, for Bulla 1914, for St. Kilda 1917; Active in Fitzroy and Prahran areas for Labor; Moved to Melbourne 1913 and became organiser, Federal Implement and Ironworkers’ Union; Sent by union to Adelaide to organise union in S.A., where he organised new members; Actively involved in anti-conscription campaigns; Prosecution several times under War Precautions Act for fiery speeches including in Toorak where he was said to be making statements likely to be prejudicial against recruiting; Attempt was made during anti-conscription campaign at Leongatha to convict him of making false statements which his solicitor fought to the High Court and resulted in the conviction being quashed with costs against the Crown; Foundation member and Sec. Journeymen Farriers’ Assoc., Melbourne, 1919-1931 (death); Moved to Coburg, early 1920s; Organised Coburg Council for Labor 1924, resulting in gaining three seats from the opposition, and gaining a seat himself (This was the only significant municipal success for Coburg prior to the late 1940s); Rep. for Coburg on Municipal Assoc. of Vic.; Did not seek re-election in 1927 due to ill-health; Prominent member, Druid’s Lodge; Justice of Peace; Described by Labor Call as a ‘thinker and a fighter’.


Labor Call, 8 Jan. 1931, 5 Feb. 1931; Recorder, April 1977 No. 87 p.8