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George William Martens (1872–1949)

Mr. Geo. [George William] Martens, former president of the Queensland Branch of the Australian Workers' Union and a former member for Herbert in the House of Representatives, died in Sydney at the week-end, aged 75.

He was one of the old stalwarts of the Union when the going was tough, and in the memorable old time sugar strike took a fighting stand on behalf of the toilers and suffered imprisonment.

Later he became an organiser, and subsequently Central District secretary.

In 1922 he was an unsuccessful Labor Senate candidate, but became a Parliamentary representative six years later when he was elected Federal representative for Herbert.

He was secretary of the Parliamentary Labor Party, member of a Select Committee on the tobacco industry, and Chairman of Committees in the House of Representatives.

In 1946 the late Mr. Martens was appointed Government representative on the Board of Commonwealth Oil Refineries Limited.

In his early days he followed many bush occupations in the Mount Perry and Bundaberg districts, and was one of the Union's early fighters about whom the rank and file should give more than a passing thought when comparing to-day with yesterday.

Branch Secretary C. G. Fallon paid a warm tribute to the late Mr. Martens.

'He had an exceptionally good record in the A.W.U. and the Labor Party,' he said.

'Born at Mt. Perry, he worked for the Union and Labor when the going was extremely hard and when it took physical courage of a high order to stand up to the demands made on those who were helping in the pioneering work.

'George Martens was a good horseman at a time when a man had to be good to be recognised as such.

'He was in charge of the 1911 strike camp at Childers in the sugar strike, and was later arrested by the police.'

Continuing, Mr. Fallon said that the late George Martens was an officer of the old Sugar Workers' Union, and later an officer of the Amalgamated Workers' Association after the amalgamation with the Sugar Workers' Union, and still later an organiser of the A.W.U., Central District secretary, Queensland Branch President, and general organiser in this State.

Mr. Fallon recalls vividly how the late Mr. Martens defeated Dr. Nott for Herbert in 1928.

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Citation details

'Martens, George William (1872–1949)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/martens-george-william-34460/text43267, accessed 25 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Birth

9 September, 1872
Mount Perry, Queensland, Australia

Death

23 August, 1949 (aged 76)
Bondi, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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