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Member Details

Mr Francis Michael BURKE (1876 - 1949)

Member Photo
Date of Birth: 27/03/1876
Place of Birth: Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia
Date of Death: 17/08/1949
Place of Death: Dulwich Hill, New South Wales, Australia
Parliamentary Service
Position Start End Period Notes
Member for Newtown 10 May 1941 24 Apr 1944 2 years 11 months 15 days
Member for Newtown 26 Mar 1938 18 Apr 1941 3 years 24 days
Member for Newtown 11 May 1935 24 Feb 1938 2 years 9 months 14 days
Member for Newtown 11 Jun 1932 12 Apr 1935 2 years 10 months 2 days
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly 25 Nov 1930 23 Jun 1932 1 year 6 months 30 days Title of The Hon. Francis Michael Burke
Member for Newtown 25 Oct 1930 18 May 1932 1 year 6 months 24 days
Member for Newtown 08 Oct 1927 08 Sep 1930 2 years 11 months 1 day
Member for Newtown 30 May 1925 07 Sep 1927 2 years 3 months 9 days
Member for Botany 25 Mar 1922 18 Apr 1925 3 years 25 days
Member for Botany 20 Mar 1920 17 Feb 1922 1 year 10 months 29 days
Member for Newtown 24 Mar 1917 18 Feb 1920 2 years 10 months 26 days
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly 24 Mar 1917 24 Apr 1944 27 years 1 month 1 day
Political Party Activity
Australian Labor Party (ALP). President of Newtown branch, president Anti-Conscription Council, joined Heffron Labor Party from July 1939; whip from 1921 until 1923.
Community Activity
Commissioned as a Justice of the Peace in 1915
Qualifications, occupations and interests
Tramway employee and public servant. Educated at Crown Street Public School; employed in Evening News office; storeman; hotel manager; for several years worked for tramways, active in union, dismissed after 1908 strike; commenced a small business; during 1914 until 1918 and became a was inspector under New South Wales Necessary Commodities Commission and inspector for Commonwealth Price Commission. Personal Assistant to Clive Evatt (q.v).
Military Service
Honours Received
Membership of other Parliaments & Offices Held
Local Government Activity
Son of Michael Burke, police officer, builder and Member of the Legislative Assembly for Tamworth from 1885 until 1887, and Catherine Agnes Leahy. Married Ada May Frazer in 1901 and had issue, 2 sons and 3 daughters. Funeral at Rookwood cemetery from St Bridget's Roman Catholic Church in Marrickville.
Additional Information
Text from the book: 'The Presiding Officers of the Parliament of New South Wales', Sydney, 1995 Francis Burke was born on 27 March 1876 at Tamworth in New South Wales. As the son of Michael Burke, member of the Legislative Assembly for Tamworth from 1885 until 1887, he developed a political interest at a young age. He worked in a variety of capacities as a storeman, an office manager and in a newspaper office. It was as an employee of the Tramways that he developed an interest in the trade union movement, becoming President of the Newtown branch of the Labor Party. He married Ada Frazer in 1901 and they had two sons and three daughters. In July 1939 he joined the breakaway Industrial Labor Party (also known as the Heffron Party). Burke was the Member for Newtown from 1917 to 1920; from 1920 to 1927 he was one of five Members representing Botany; and from 1927 until his defeat in 1944 he was again elected to the Assembly for the seat of Newtown. He was Chairman of the Public Works Committee between 1925 and 1927 and in 1930 he was elected Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. Considered a hard hitting and relentless debater, Burke was a forceful political figure during the strenuous period of the Great Depression. His long experience on the floor of the House gave him an understanding for the procedural demands of the Speakership and because of the efficient manner in which he conducted business his rulings were seldom challenged. During the turbulent years of the second Lang Government Burke retained his independence, on several occasions ruling in favour of opposition members and against the Government. He died at Dulwich Hill on 17 August 1949.