John Cusack (politician)

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John Cusack
John Cusack (Australian politician).jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Eden-Monaro
In office
12 December 1929 – 19 December 1931
Preceded by John Perkins
Succeeded by John Perkins
Personal details
Born (1868-08-08)8 August 1868
Yass, New South Wales
Died 8 September 1956(1956-09-08) (aged 88)
Canberra, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Minnie Cassidy
Relations Dymphna Cusack (niece)
Children Two sons; a daughter
Occupation Blacksmith

John Joseph Cusack (8 August 1868 – 8 September 1956) was an Australian politician, coachbuilder and garage proprietor.

Early life[edit]

Cusack was born at Bellevale near Yass, New South Wales and had some schooling in Yass. He was apprenticed at 15 to a blacksmith at Berrima. He learnt about coachbuilding in Sydney and returned to Yass in 1898 to marry Minnie Cassidy and build a coachbuilding business. He was elected to Yass Municipal Council and was Mayor in 1904.[1]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Cusack established a branch of the Labor League (the predecessor of the Australian Labor Party) in Yass in the 1890s. He represented Queanbeyan from 1910 to 1913 and Albury from 1913 to 1917 in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. He was one of only four Labor members to hold the seat of Albury. Between the years of 1929 and 1931, Cusack was a member of the House of Representatives for Eden-Monaro. He stood unsuccessfully for several state elections up to 1953,[2] when he failed, at age 80, as an Independent,[3] to unseat the sitting Labor member for Burrinjuck, Billy Sheahan.[4][5] After the election, Cusack accused Sheahan, then NSW Attorney General, of "assist[ing] a masonic vendetta" against him.[6] In 1954, as a senile figure lacking credibility, he also contested the federal lower-house seat of Australian Capital Territory.[7]

Later life[edit]

After his earlier electoral defeats, Cusack returned to his work as a blacksmith in Yass. He died in the old Canberra Hospital and was survived by his wife, three sons (Linton, Stan and Greg) and a daughter (Ursula). His son Stan established a successful furniture business in Canberra, following the development of the area as the Australian Capital Territory. Dymphna Cusack was his niece.[1] His great-granddaughter Catherine Cusack was elected on 22 March 2003 but as a Liberal Party member of the New South Wales Legislative Council.[2]


  1. ^ a b Phillips, Nan; Bede Nairn. "Cusack, John Joseph (1868–1956)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-03-10. 
  2. ^ a b "Mr John Joseph Cusack (1868–1956)". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 2007-03-10. 
  3. ^ Candidates for N.S.W. Elections The Northern Star, 20 January 1953, p.5, at Trove
  4. ^ The Hon. William Francis Sheahan (1895–1975) Archived 24 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine. at Former Members, NSW Parliament
  5. ^ Cusack Again: Something Like an Election Speech, The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal, 13 February 1953, p. 1, at Trove
  6. ^ Yass Court In Past "Political Brothel" Says J. J. Cusack. The Canberra Times, 21 January 1956, at Trove
  7. ^ "H.A.McC." Notes From the City The Scone Advocate, 26 March 1954, at Trove
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Granville Ryrie
Member for Queanbeyan
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Gordon McLaurin
Member for Albury
Succeeded by
Arthur Manning
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
John Perkins
Member for Eden-Monaro
Succeeded by
John Perkins