James Dooley (politician)

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James Dooley
James Dooley MLA.jpg
21st Premier of New South Wales
Election: 1922
In office
5 October 1921 – 20 December 1921
Preceded byJohn Storey
Succeeded bySir George Fuller
In office
20 December 1921 – 13 April 1922
Preceded bySir George Fuller
Succeeded bySir George Fuller
Personal details
James Thomas Dooley

(1877-04-26)26 April 1877
Ballymahon, County Longford, Ireland
Died2 January 1950(1950-01-02) (aged 72)
New South Wales, Australia
Political partyLabor Party
Spouse(s)Kate Rodé Trundle

James Thomas Dooley (26 April 1877 – 2 January 1950) served twice, briefly, as Premier of New South Wales during the early 1920s.

Early years[edit]

Born in the townland of Curracreehan (possibly Currycreaghan), near Ballymahon, County Longford, Ireland, he was the fourth son of Thomas Dooley, a farmer, and his wife Elizabeth, née O'Connor.[1]

He arrived in Brisbane, Australia at the age of 8, where he attended a state school before commencing work as a draper's assistant at twelve and was later apprenticed to a tailor, he attended evening classes and joined the college's literary and debating society and the Labor Party. In about 1901, he worked at Cobar and other outback New South Wales before settling in Lithgow, New South Wales and marrying Kate Rodé Trundle in 1905.[2]

Parliamentary career[edit]

In 1907, he was elected to the seat of Hartley in the Legislative Assembly and was its youngest member at the time. From 1920 to 1927 he represented Bathurst.[3] On the expulsion of Premier William Holman and others from the Labor Party on the conscription issue in November 1917, Dooley became deputy party leader to Ernest Durack; when Durack resigned in February 1917, John Storey became party leader and Dooley remained deputy leader. Labor won the 1920 election with a majority of one and he was appointed Colonial Secretary (including responsibility for state enterprises and the police) and Minister for Housing from April 1920 to October 1921. Dooley acted as Premier during Storey's six-month trip to England (January–July 1921) and when Storey was sick, he became Premier on Storey's death in October 1921. His government was defeated on the floor of the House on 13 December 1921, but new Premier George Fuller, lost a vote within seven hours of his appointment, and Dooley regained power, he lost a highly sectarian election campaign to Fuller in April 1922.[2]

As the result of a dispute with a party executive, dominated by the Australian Workers' Union, he was expelled from the party in February 1923, but reinstated by the NSW Labor Party annual conference later that year.[4] In August 1923, he resigned and Jack Lang became leader. During the 1925-27 Lang Government Dooley served as Speaker. Afterwards he fell out with the Labor leadership, lost Labor preselection for Bathurst, and stood unsuccessfully as an Independent Labor candidate for the Senate in the 1931 federal election and for Hartley in the 1932 State election, which swept Lang from office, he also ran unsuccessfully against Billy Hughes in North Sydney in 1940. His first wife died in 1936, and he married Irene Mary Kenney in 1946,[2] he owned two Lithgow hotels during his later years.


James Dooley died on 2 January 1950 at the Liverpool Hospital in Sydney, he was survived by his wife, son and daughter. His funeral was held at St. Mary's Cathedral on 4 January 1940, and he was interred at Botany Cemetery on the same day.[5]


  1. ^ "General Registrar's Office". IrishGenealogy.ie. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Cunneen, Chris. "Dooley, James Thomas (1877 - 1950)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 19 February 2007.
  3. ^ "Mr James Thomas Dooley (1877-1950)". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  4. ^ Scott Stephenson. ""Ballot-Faking Crooks and a Tyrannical Executive": The Australian Workers Union Faction and the 1923 New South Wales Labor Party Annual Conference." Labour History, no. 105 (2013): 93-111. doi:10.5263/labourhistory.105.0093.
  5. ^ Sydney Morning Herald: Funeral Notice 04/01/1950 (page 22)
New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
John Hurley
Member for Hartley
1907 – 1920
District abolished
Preceded by
Valentine Johnston
Member for Bathurst
1920 – 1927
Served alongside: Fitzpatrick, Johnston/Rosenthal/Kelly
Succeeded by
Gus Kelly
Preceded by
Daniel Levy
Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
1925 – 1927
Succeeded by
Sir Daniel Levy
Political offices
Preceded by
John Storey
Premier of New South Wales
Succeeded by
George Fuller
Preceded by
George Fuller
Premier of New South Wales
1921 – 1922
Succeeded by
George Fuller
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Storey
Leader of the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales
1922 – 1923
Succeeded by
Jack Lang