Donald McLennan Grant

Donald Grant

Donald McLennan Grant was born in 1888 in Inverness and apprenticed as a dental mechanic before he migrated to Sydney in 1910. He was associated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and, when war broke out, he drew record crowds to the Domain where he inveighed against conscription and favoured industrial action, including sabotage. In 1916 he (with eleven other IWW members) was sentenced to 15 years. He described this experience in his book, Through Six Gaols.

When most charges were overturned, Grant was released in 1920 and became associated with the Labor Party. He was gaoled again over demonstrations against the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1927. Elected to the Sydney Municipal Council in 1931, he represented Phillip Ward and then Flinders Ward until 1944. Appointed to the Legislative Council in 1931 and elected to the reconstituted Council in 1934, in 1940 he denounced this ‘bulwark of vested interests, even worse than the House of Lords’ and refused to seek re-election.

In 1943 he was elected to the Senate, and in 1946 he was a representative to the Paris Peace Conference. As a Senator his politics shifted towards reformism, but he lost pre-selection in 1956 after attacking his old friend Doc Evatt. Grant died in 1970.