Phillip Patrick O’Toole

Phillip Patrick O’Toole, 1913-2007, trade unionist, was the sixth child of Joseph and Mary Therese. He spent his childhood in the extensive O’Toole clan in Pyrmont, where his father owned and managed the Austral Sawdust Company. With many siblings and cousins, he spent holidays in Curl Curl, swimming and surfing. When he left school he was employed as a clerk, and soon plunged into union affairs.

Pyrmont – a Catholic and Labor stronghold – was a leading centre of anti-communist unionism, and Phillip helped to displace the Communist Party-aligned executive of the NSW branch of the Clerks Union in 1947. He became Branch Secretary and later a member of the Federal Council. During his long career in the Clerks Union and the Labor Council, he represented the Union overseas.

He was awarded an MBE in 1977 and an OAM in 1988. A keen football player and swimmer, in later life he chaired the NSW Swimming Association. Phillip’s marriage to Olga was solemnised by his brother, Father John. Phillip and Olga had one daughter, Patricia Mulligan, the clan’s archivist, and a grandson, Phillip Mulligan.

More than 150 people attended his funeral.

Sources

  • C.F. Fowler, 150 Years on Pyrmont Peninsula: the Catholic Community of Saint Bede 1867-2017
  • O’Toole family archive, courtesy of Mrs Pat Mulligan