Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Remembering 15 Years of Service

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Remembering 15 Years of Service

Article excerpt

Jack O'Malley

JOHN Francis O'Malley who was mayor for 15 years from 1946 to 1961, holds the record of being Gladstone's longest serving mayor in the town's history. In the early days of the town council, elections were held every year, and often the mayoral seat changed every year. Later, when elections were only held every three years, the terms began to become longer. Colin Brown equalled this record, also serving for 15 years, from 1979 to 1994.

Elected in 1946 following the term of Gideon Dennis, O'Malley served through these post-war years until 1961, when the town had just started to out-grow its small-town status. The meatworks were in their final years and the Alumina refinery, or QAL (Queensland Alumina Limited) as it soon became known, was about to burst onto the town's stage as the leading industry in town.

The town until then was a small fishing village with a successful, but seasonal, meatworks. There was no town sewerage and other facilities were under-developed. O'Malley lost the election due to a proposed increase in town rates, coupled with the lack of sewerage. He was defeated by Henry Anson, DCM, an ANZAC veteran, who served for just over two years, when he became ill and died suddenly.

John Francis O'Malley, the son of John Charles O'Malley and his wife, Cecilia Margaret Mary, nee Jones, was born in 1911. The couple also had a daughter, Kate, born 1906, and another son, William Patrick, born 1918. All the children were born in Rockhampton, and John Charles O'Malley worked at Lakes Creek Meatworks. When their home was destroyed by fire in the 1930s, the O'Malley family moved to Gladstone, where O'Malley senior gained employment at the Gladstone Meatworks. Young Jack also joined the workforce at the Meatworks.

Jack married Ruby Lynch of Gladstone and they had three daughters, Pat, Joan and Denise. Older sister, Kate, married Bill Guthrie. Younger brother, William Patrick, joined the 42nd Battalion and journeyed to Bougainville where he was tragically drowned at the age of 26 years. …

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