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William Murray (Bill) Nulty (1869–1940)

from Murrumbidgee Irrigator

The death on Saturday last of Mr. William Murray Nulty, popularly known as 'Bill' Nulty, aged 71 years, removed from our midst one of the best known personalities of the irrigation area.

Up to two years ago, when severe illness caused him to ease up in his public activities, the late Mr. Nulty took a very live interest in all matters for the welfare of the irrigation area. All his life he had been a staunch Laborite, and prior to coming to the irrigation area in 1912, was a Union Leader. Supporters regarded him as the best Labor man Leeton ever had. A sticker for his principles and in some circles termed as an extremist, he was nevertheless always admired for his honest and straightforward opinions, even by those who held opposite views. He had a wide circle of friends and his advice was always sought and valued. An orchardist, he took a keen and active interest in the betterment of the industry and also played a part in obtaining the tariff which helped the rice industry to be established on these areas. In sporting circles the late Mr. Nulty was a keen follower of the Australian Rules football, and had always been a member of the local club, and at one time was president of the South Western District Football League and L.D.F.A. In the early days, Mr. Nulty was associated with the Leeton District Band.

The late Mr. Nulty's activities as a union leader in the days of the great industrial struggles on the mining fields of Broken Hill, gained him prominence throughout Australia. An illuminated address presented to him when he left Broken Hill to come to Leeton in 1912, will ever be a memorial of the big part he played in the cause of unionism. The tribute states that he held almost every office in Amalgamated Miners' Association, as well as President of the Barrier Labor Federation and the Political Labor League, and was one of the fore most in every progressive movement on the Barrier, such as the "Barrier Daily Truth," Co-operative Stores Butchery, Woodyard and Bakery.

Mr. Nulty commenced life as a farmer and contractor in the Western district of Victoria. In the section known as the Henty country, near Casterton. The bank smash of the early nineties, sent him into the back country as a shearer. In this capacity he had his first experience of industrial war, and in the great shearers' strike in 1894, he was arrested in the Broken Hill district on a charge of having attempted to stop a man following his lawful occupation. Commenting on the case the 'Barrier Miner' noted that the defendant was 'cool-headed enough to fill a judgeship.'

When the year 1909 brought the big lockout on the Barrier, Mr. Nulty was president of the combined miners' unions. The 'Sydney Morning Herald' stated that Nulty and Delprat (representative of the employers) could have settled the strike in half an hour.

Mr. Nulty represented the miners of Broken Hill at the inauguration of the Federal Parliament under Premier E. Barton.

In 1910 Mr. Nulty left the Barrier and followed a mining rush to Western Australia, where further strife in the industrial struggle awaited him.

A telegram from the Hon. Arthur Griffith, M.L.A., after whom our neighboring town was named, and who at that time was Minister for Works, was the message which brought the late Mr. Nulty to these areas; he arrived at Yanco on January 4, 1912. He was first engaged as a ganger in the construction works building roads and canals. He later received an appointment as health officer under the Irrigation Trust, which he eventually gave up to at tend to his citrus grove on Farm 252, where he resided to the end.

Fully alive to the value of organisation Mr. Nulty became the first secretary of the Fruitgrowers' Association and was elected to the Dried Fruits Board when it was first established. He represented the fruit growers at many conferences.

In 1929 when the Scullin Government was returned, Mr. Nulty, as Labor candidate, was narrowly defeated by Mr. W. W. Killen for the Riverina electorate. The margin was 1360 out of 50,000 votes.

The late Mr. Nulty is survived by his widow, two daughters, Pauline and Felicitas, (Mrs. Les Bailey) and two sons, Larry and Bart.

Labor stalwarts, orchardists and representatives of all walks of life joined with the family, and many dear friends, and neighbors, in paying their last respects to one whose big interest in life was the bettering of the conditions of the working class. The funeral, which moved from St. Joseph's Church on Sunday afternoon, was very largely attended. The Rev. Father Clifford P.P., held a service in the Church prior to heading the cortege to the graveside, in the Roman Catholic portion of the Leeton cemetery, where he again officiated. The pall bearers, all old friends of deceased, were Messrs Jack Brady, Mac Stevenson, J. Brock, P. Horan, H. Leighton and R. Cathcart. The first four were all life-long friends of deceased, dating back to when they lived in Broken Hill.

The chief mourners were the wife and family.

The large assemblage around the graveside included the Shire President and Mrs. Struck, Cr. J. S. Dooley, Cr. M. J. Gleeson, Mr. M. Hogan (Shire engineer), Mr. Letheren (president) and J. Taylor (of the Fruit growers' Co-operative Society), Messrs. H. J. Williams, H. Dube and P. Hardge (of the Leeton Cannery), Mr. F.'R. King (president of the Show Society), Mr. J. Brady (Rice Marketing Board), Mr. J. Brock (president of Progress Association), Mr. H. G. B. Williams (Rural Bank), Mr. T. H. Dunn (channel superintendent, W.C. and I.C.), Mr. H. Dargin (Dept. of Agriculture), Mr. W. Kinloch (District Hospital), Mr. C. Braithwaite (W.C. and I.C.), Messrs. O. G. Washington, W. C. Barker, H. Watson, G. Conson, T. Sexton, R. L. Black, J. Watts, C. J. Dalton, J. Frazer, V. Ryall, J. Keegan, G. Jeffrey (business houses, of Leeton), Mr. Mac Waring (Yanco). Among the early-day settlers and orchardists present were Messrs F. D. Inman, H Alexander, C. Crowe, R. Fardell, M. Cox. and many others. The Australian Labor Party and unionists were represented by Alf. Hutchinson (vice-president), H. Leighton (secretary), Barney Conlon, Bow Curtis, Bill Mitchell, Jack Harding, Jack Brock, S. Evans and Bob Cathcart. Mrs. P. Grace represented the Yanco branch.

The wreaths bore the following cards: —

Wife and family; Bart, Isabel and Janice; Flo and Cal.; Qlga, Jack and family; Jean and Ralph; Mr. and Mrs. P. Horan, May and Hilda; Eileen and Paddy Grace; Mr. and Mrs. J. Schwab and family; Mr. and Mrs. W. Taylor, Chris and Isabel; Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Jackson and family; The Directors and Staff, Leeton Cooperative Cannery; Employees and Welfare Association, Leeton Cannery; Yanco branch, Australian Labor Party; Leeton branch, Australian Labor Party; Jack Lang, Auburn, N.S.W.; Mr. and. Mrs. Jack Brady; Mr. and Mrs. M. Kerin and family; Mr. and Mrs. J. R. O'Connor and, family; Mr. and Mrs. J. Smith and family; Mr. and Mrs. T. Scanlan and Jack; Mr. and Mrs. L. J. Conway; Mrs. Fuller, Mrs. H. Russell; Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Enticknap, Yenda; Mollie, and Stan Snudden; Mr. and Mrs. R. Struck; Mr. and Mrs. McNamara, daughter, and Wade Hotel; Mr. and Mrs. F. Helson; Marjory Jackson; Mr. and Mrs. F. Cooper and family; Mr. and Mrs. J. O'Brien and Hale; Mr. and Mrs. Keegan and family; Katie and Jim O'Sullivan, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Clayton and family; Nora and Allan Reynolds, Mr. and Mrs. S. Evans and family; Mr. and Mrs. O. G. Washington; Mr. and Mrs. Bow Curtis, Jack and Rita; Stan Hicking; H. M. Waring and family; Mr. and Mrs. H. R. Alexander and family; Mr. and Mrs. R. M. Harrison and family; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Heness and family; Mr. and Mrs. S. Kefford and family; Mr. and Mrs. C. R. Fardell. The funeral arrangements were directed by Ashton's.

Original publication

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Additional Resources

Citation details

'Nulty, William Murray (Bill) (1869–1940)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Portland, Victoria, Australia


29 September, 1940 (aged ~ 71)
Leeton, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (stomach)

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

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