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Jack Mundey
, 1997

by Lewis Morley

type C photograph (sheet: 45.5 cm x 35.0 cm, image: 37.8 cm x 30.4 cm)

Jack Mundey AO (b. 1929), former union activist, is credited with preventing the demolition of much of inner Sydney's built heritage in the 1970s and 1980s. Mundey grew up on Queensland farm before moving to Sydney to try out for the Parramatta Rugby League side in 1948. Employed in a factory, he joined the Federated Ironworkers' union and then the Communist Party, of which he was later President for some years. In the early 1960s he led the rank and file in action to improve safety and sanitary conditions for workers. As Secretary of the NSW Branch of the Builders' Labourers' Federation from 1968 to 1975, he encouraged members to become informed on and involved in broad social movements and international politics. In the four years following the first 'green ban' at Kelly?s Bush, Hunters Hill, in the early 1970s, he estimates there were more than 40 such bans imposed by unions, scuttling many millions of dollars' worth of development on sites with historical or ecological heritage value. A former Patron of the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales and a Living National Treasure, Mundey has two honorary doctorates.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2007
Accession number: 2007.44