Obituaries Australia

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: use double quotes to search for a phrase
  • Tip: lists of awards, schools, organisations etc

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Michael (Mick) McNamara (1939–1991)

Mr Michael McNamara, a prominent union activist during the 1960s, died in Liverpool yesterday at the age of 52.

Mr McNamara joined the building industry at 15 as a pick and shovel labourer and was a union job delegate by the age of 16.

At 22, he became Australia's youngest union secretary when he was elected secretary of the NSW Builders Labourers' Federation in 1961.

Mr McNamara held the position for seven years and was replaced by longtime left-wing activist Mr Jack Mundey.

"(Mr McNamara) was secretary of the federation during the first huge building boom after the Second World War," said Mr Mundey, who was a close friend of Mr McNamara.

"During his period as secretary, enormous changes occurred in the building industry and he played a vital part in improving the safety standards and the conditions of building workers on the building sites.

"After his time as secretary he continued to give full support to people like myself in the highly publicised Green Ban period."

Mr McNamara died of motor neurone disease. He is survived by his wife, Elaine, and his three sons, Darren, Glen and Jason.

Original publication

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'McNamara, Michael (Mick) (1939–1991)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Ultimo, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


13 October, 1991 (aged ~ 52)
Casula, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

motor-neurone disease

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Organisations