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Biographical entry McCormack, William (1879 - 1947)

Politician - State - QLD (MLA)


Born and raised in Queensland, McCormack worked as a miner in the early 1900s. He joined the Amalgamated Workers’ Association of North Queensland as the inaugural Vice-President in 1907 and oversaw the amalgamation of smaller unions, including the Amalgamated Sugar Workers’ in 1910, and organised the sugar workers’ strike in 1911. In 1912 McCormack won a seat in the Legislative Assembly as Labor candidate and in 1913, he became Vice–President of the Australian Workers’ Union. He held ministerial positions under Theodore and Gillies until Gillies’ retirement in October 1922, after which he was elected leader of the party and Premier. He took an anti-union stance during the South Johnstone sugar-mill strike which culminated in a lockout of railway staff who joined the strike. He was Premier until Labor’s defeat in May 1929.

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Kennedy, K.H., 'William McCormack', in Serle, Geoffrey and Nairn, Bede (eds), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 10, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1986, pp. 233-235. Details

Ross G. Elford