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Gerald Patrick (Gerry) Foley (1895–1944)

from Westralian Worker

The Australian Labor Party suffered a severe loss on Tuesday last when Gerald Foley, secretary of the Timber Workers' Union, died suddenly at his home at Mosman Park. The loss was made more poignant to his workmates at the Trades Hall as he appeared in recent weeks to be in better health than for some time. He attended a meeting of the State Executive on Monday night and collapsed and died in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The suddenness of the loss makes it difficult to realise that the wise counsels of one whose whole life was in accordance with the high principles of the Labor Movement will no longer be available.

Gerry Foley was a man to whom mateship was a very real thing, and in the Labor Movement he found and helped improve the means of bringing the inspiration of mateship into the affairs of everyday life. As a young man he joined the Railway Officers' Union and took a prominent part in its affairs. He became a delegate to the Fremantle District Council and to the State Executive. He also attended several Federal Conferences. He took over the secretaryship of the Timber' Workers' Union eleven years ago and did a wonderful job in straightening out the affairs of that organisation and placing it once again on a sound foundation. This called for strenuous work and Gerry gave himself generously to it. He had his reward in bringing order out of chaos and in restoring the Union to a position in which it could again adequately protect and advance the interests of its members.

But a mere recital of the work done by him in union affairs provides no more than an index to the chapters of a short but full life spent in the service of his country and countrymen. Gerry Foley delighted in the Labor Movement because he found it so human a movement—human in its aspirations and human, too, in its faults. Likewise, the Labor Movement delighted in the humanity of Gerry Foley.

He loved his country and he believed in his fellow countrymen. He had no time for those who would impose foreign ideologies on Australia and attempt to make this country a pale imitation of some other country. His sane and robust Australianism made him opposed to all the shams and insincerities of advocates of dictatorship, whether of the Left or the Right. Throughout his life he fought for Democracy, and Australian Democracy has been made richer by his efforts.

Gerry Foley's passion for justice, his indignation at anything savoring of injustice, the outstanding ability with which he fought for the things he believed in, his honesty and his sincerity, made him an ideal citizen. There was no cause for which he fought that was not helped by his advocacy. He spoke well, he wrote well, and he strove to do well at all times.

The thousands of members of the Labor Movement in this State and in other States who have lost in him a well-loved mate will sympathise with his bereaved wife and family in their great loss. 'Words are vain things in times of irreparable loss, but there might be some comfort for those who were nearest and dearest to him in knowing that their great sorrow is shared by many, many others.

Gerry Foley died with much of his work undone and many of his aspirations unrealised. Had he been spared to continue his work there is no doubt that his would have been a powerful influence in the Labor Movement and in Australian life generally. He has not been spared but he has left us an inspiration and an example that cannot fail to exert an influence in the troubled years ahead. Gerry Foley is dead but his work will go on.

Original publication

Other Obituaries for Gerald Patrick (Gerry) Foley

Additional Resources

  • funeral, West Australian, 30 June 1941, p 2

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Foley, Gerald Patrick (Gerry) (1895–1944)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/foley-gerald-patrick-gerry-33696/text42173, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Gerry Foley, c.1944

Gerry Foley, c.1944

Sunday Times (Perth), 12 November 1944, p 5

Life Summary [details]

Birth

19 June, 1895
Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia

Death

7 November, 1944 (aged 49)
Mosman Park, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Cultural Heritage

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