The Guardian • Issue #2091

Vale Mick OíShea, shearer, union leader, Dubbo local

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2091
Mick O'Shea image composite by AWU.

Image: Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) via their facebook page.

It is with deep sorrow and profound respect that the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) announces the passing of Michael Joseph O’Shea, affectionately known as Mick O’Shea, on 29 February 2024.

Born on 22 October 1933, Mick was a stalwart member of the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) for an incredible 75 years, leaving an indelible mark on the labour movement and the communities he served.

Mick became a shearer in Coonamble at the age of 15 after the death of his father forced him from school to the shearing sheds to provide for his mother Lilian and sisters Noreen, Patricia, and little brother Brian.

A proud shearer, Mick embodied the hardworking spirit of the Australian country worker as he travelled across NSW, shearing sheep and building a reputation for dedication and skill.

Mick’s journey with the AWU began in 1947, at the age of 16, and he dedicated his life to the union, becoming an organiser from 1974 to 1993 and later serving as the AWU NSW Branch Secretary from 1993 to 1996.

His commitment to the cause was unwavering, and he played a key role in protecting and enhancing the strength of the union across the Central West, leaving a legacy that will be remembered for generations.

His impact on the labour movement extended beyond his official roles, as he actively participated in supporting quality Labor candidates and played a pivotal role in the formation of Country Labor in Dubbo.

Mick’s dedication to improving the lives of working people was a life’s passion.

His family remembers the countless days he spent travelling across the state, resolving disputes, and tirelessly working to support families and communities from Broken Hill to Cobar, from Mudgee to Parkes.

Mick’s ability to resolve conflicts with humour and compassion became legendary, his style was to talk through issues, not inflame situations.

One of Mick’s significant contributions to the AWU’s history was during the Wide Comb dispute while he served as the assistant secretary.

After retiring in 1996, Mick continued his commitment to service, volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army, driven by his deep faith and dedication to helping others.

Australian Workers Union
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