Greg McGirr

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John Joseph Gregory "Greg" McGirr (11 October 1879 – 23 March 1949) was an Australian politician, elected as a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly.

The second son of John Patrick McGirr, a farmer, and Mary (née O'Sullivan) McGirr, both Irish emigrants, Greg McGirr was born in Parkes, New South Wales, and educated at St Joseph's Convent, Parkes, and St Stanislaus' College, Bathurst. He graduated in pharmacy from the University of Sydney in 1904.[1] James McGirr, Premier of that state from 1947 to 1952, was one of his younger brothers. Another brother, Patrick, was also a New South Wales politician.[1]

He opened chemist shops at Parkes, Peak Hill, Orange, Narromine, and eventually Sydney. He was heavily involved in land and stock trading. He joined the Labor Party. In 1910 McGirr ran unsuccessfully for the seat of Orange, but won Yass at a by-election in 1913. In 1914 he married Rachel Rittenburg Miller, a schoolteacher. The couple had nine children.[2]

He was ALP whip from 1916 until 1917. At the 1920 election proportional representation was introduced and the Yass electorate was absorbed into an expanded multi-member electoral district of Cootamundra, and he won a seat in it. Labour won the election he became Minister for Public Health and Motherhood until the defeat of the Government in the 1922 election.[1]

He was named deputy party leader after the death of John Storey in 1921. In 1922, he won a seat in Sydney and became party leader as a result of the expulsion of its leader James Dooley from the party in March 1923. The Federal Labor Executive then intervened in the State Party and, after the interim leadership of Bill Dunn, Jack Lang became party leader in July 1923. As a result of his involvement in the previous machinations,[clarification needed] McGirr was isolated and resigned from the party in July and attempted to establish the "Young Australia Party". He was defeated at the 1925 election and subsequently concentrated on his business interests, except for an unsuccessful attempt to win Calare for the State (Hughes-Evans) Labor Party in September 1940.[2]


He died in Sydney, aged 69, survived by his wife and eight of their nine children.[2] One of his daughters, Trixie, moved to Britain where she became a Conservative politician and is the only Australian woman to date to have been made a life peer as the Baroness Gardner of Parkes.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Mr John Joseph Gregory "Greg" McGirr (1879-1949)". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c "McGirr, John Joseph Gregory (1879-1949)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 13 February 2007. 
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Niels Rasmus Nielsen
Member for Yass
1913 – 1920
Succeeded by
Preceded by
William Holman
Member for Cootamundra
1920 – 1922
Served alongside: Loughlin, Main
Succeeded by
Kenneth Hoad
Preceded by
Michael Burke
Member for Sydney
1922 – 1925
Served alongside: Birt/Holdsworth, Buckley/Jackson, Levy, Minahan
Succeeded by
Michael Burke
Party political offices
Preceded by
James Dooley
Leader of the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales
Succeeded by
Bill Dunn