Mr Robert James HEFFRON (1890 - 1978)**

  • Date of Birth: 10/09/1890
  • Place of Birth: Thames, New Zealand
  • Date of Death: 27/07/1978
  • Place of Death: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Parliamentary Service

Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly25 Oct 193023 Jan 196837yr(s) 2mth(s) 30day(s)
Member for Botany25 Oct 193018 May 19321yr(s) 6mth(s) 24day(s)
29th (1930 - 1932)
Member for Botany11 Jun 193212 Apr 19352yr(s) 10mth(s) 2day(s)
30th (1932 - 1935)
Member for Botany18 Apr 193524 Feb 19382yr(s) 10mth(s) 7day(s)
31st (1935 - 1938)
Member for Botany26 Mar 193818 Apr 19413yr(s) 24day(s)
32nd (1938 - 1941)
Member for Botany10 May 194124 Apr 19442yr(s) 11mth(s) 15day(s)
33rd (1941 - 1944)
Member for Botany28 Apr 194429 Mar 19472yr(s) 11mth(s) 2day(s)
34th (1944 - 1947)
Member for Botany3 Apr 194722 May 19503yr(s) 1mth(s) 20day(s)
35th (1947 - 1950)
Member for Maroubra17 Jun 195014 Jan 19532yr(s) 6mth(s) 29day(s)
36th (1950 - 1953)
Member for Maroubra19 Jan 19536 Feb 19563yr(s) 19day(s)
37th (1953 - 1956)
Member for Maroubra3 Mar 195616 Feb 19592yr(s) 11mth(s) 14day(s)
38th (1956 - 1959)
Member for Maroubra21 Mar 19595 Feb 19622yr(s) 10mth(s) 16day(s)
39th (1950 - 1953)
Member for Maroubra3 Mar 196231 Mar 19653yr(s) 29day(s)
40th (1962 - 1965)
Member for Maroubra1 May 196523 Jan 19682yr(s) 8mth(s) 23day(s)
41st (1965 - 1968)
Minister for National Emergency Services16 May 19418 Jun 19443yr(s) 24day(s)
Minister for Education8 Jun 19442 Apr 19527yr(s) 9mth(s) 26day(s)
Secretary for Mines23 Feb 195316 Sep 19536mth(s) 25day(s)
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education23 Feb 19531 Apr 19596yr(s) 1mth(s) 10day(s)
Acting Premier and Colonial Treasurer6 Apr 195822 Jul 19583mth(s) 17day(s)
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education1 Apr 195923 Oct 19596mth(s) 23day(s)
Treasurer and Minister for Education23 Oct 195928 Oct 19596day(s)
Premier23 Oct 195930 Apr 19644yr(s) 6mth(s) 8day(s)
Minister for Education28 Oct 195931 May 19607mth(s) 4day(s)
Acting Treasurer 10 Nov 19608 Jan 19611mth(s) 30day(s)
Acting Treasurer 22 Nov 19612 Jan 19621mth(s) 12day(s)

Political Party Activity

Australian Labor Party (ALP). Branch offices, expelled in August 1936 for attending Trades Hall conference critical of Lang machine, re-admitted 1937; led breakaway group 1938; deputy leader 1952 until 1959, leader 1959 until 1964.

Qualifications, occupations and interests

Labourer and union organiser. Educated at Hikotaia, New Zealand; worked in gold treating plant on leaving school, spent evenings studying metallurgy at technical college; at nineteen journeyed to the United States of America, mule driver, scaffold builder and labourer; returned to Waikino, New Zealand 1912, joined the New Zealand Socialist party, prominent in Waihi goldminers' strike; shearer and organiser for General Workers' Union Auckland; did two years' night study at Auckland University; arrival at Melbourne 1919; member Victoria Socialist party; organiser for Federation Clothing Trades' Union; moved to Sydney, secretary of New South Wales branch Marine Stewards' Union 1921-1930; arrested for alleged conspiracy over Port Lyttelton strike 1925 but discharged; hon. D Litt University of Sydney 1952, and University of New England 1956, hon.D Sc University of New South Wales 1955; hon. member Royal Australia Historical Society 1947; reared Roman Catholic, became proselytising rationalist, later self-styled Protestant.


Son of Michael Heffron, blacksmith, and Ellen Heath, Irish migrants. Married Jessie Bjornstad on 29 December 1917 in New Zealand and had issue, 2 daughters. Funeral at Eastern Suburbs crematorium from St Stephens Uniting Church, Macquarie Street in Sydney.

Additional Information

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14 Personal papers in the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Robert James Heffron - newscuttings, 1941 - 1960 (MLMSS 2306)