Obituary

Obituary

Vale: Kathleen Genevieve Gallogly

Born: Toowoomba, July 20, 1920

Died: Brisbane, June 9, 2008

John McMahon

Thousands of Labor Party members knew Kath Gallogly as the heavy smoking gatekeeper who controlled access to the organisation’s heavyweight secretaries who ran the organisation in Queensland.

But few knew she was the person who typed and personally delivered the letter which spelt the beginning of the end of the late Vince Gair’s term as Premier a position he held for 5 1/2 years.

The letter,taken to Gair’s Brisbane home at Annerley, informed him that the party’s then powerful Queensland Central Executive had voted to expel him from the movement he had supported for 40 years.

Mr. Gair had fallen out with the union-dominated party over the workers’ fight for three weeks’ annual leave a policy he subscribed to but would not commit the state because of the additional cost.

It was later written that he preferred political extinction to the extinction of principle and conscience and would not be stood over by the party machine, then driven by the powerful Australian Workers Union.

At the time, Ms. Gallogly was secretary to the QCE secretary Jack Schmella and, as she could write shorthand faster than Parliament’s Hansard writers, was required to take the minutes.

She recorded the decision which said in part: “.. (Gair’s) continued refusal to accept ALP rules and platform render him unfit to be a member of the Labor Party and therefore his membership is terminated forthwith”.

Mr. Gair went on to form the Queensland Labor Party, which he led as premier until he lost to a then Country-Liberal coalition, and remained in Parliament as the member for South Brisbane until 1960.

Then, under the Democratic Labor Party banner, he represented Queensland as a senator for nine years until 1974.

Meanwhile, Ms. Gallogly was secretary to Schmella’s successors Jim Keefe and Tom Burns before she left the organisation to work for Labor senator George Georges.

She was a Labor stalwart whose contribution was recognised by former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam who each year, would contact her on her birthday.

But it was a telegram he sent her just before Labor came to power federally in 1972 that she treasured. It thanked her for her support, loyalty and predicted that the time of victory was close.

When Mr. Burns became federal president, and before he entered State Parliament, Ms. Gallogly would take the minutes of the national executive. Nearly always smoking a cigarette through a long holder, she had the measure of Burns. He had a propensity to threaten resignation if things went bad, so she simply advised colleagues to ignore any letter outlining that intent. And there was wit.

It was the practice of politicians from both sides of the political fence to bottle some usually vile red wine and sell it to raise campaign funds, thereby boosting the efforts of pub chook raffles. The Burns drop, known as Burns Blood, was offered to her.

After tasting it, she drew on her cigarette and told the person who handed her the glass: “If you want to blow my head off next time would you please use a shotgun.”

She was awarded an OAM in 1992 for service to politics, particularly the federal executive of the Australian Labor Party in which she was involved for more than 40 years.

In 2003 she was awarded a Centenary Medal for distinguished service in support of the work of the Commonwealth Parliament and she was a justice of the peace for more than 35 years.

Kathleen Genevieve Gallogly was born to Daniel Gallogly, from the County of Antrim, Northern Ireland, and Mary Gallogly (nee McMahon).

She was very active in the Catholic Women’s League taking on the position of secretary at the Clayfield branch and also joined the Banyo branch when she moved to Nudgee.

In her later years, she lived at Emmaus Home, Nudgee, where she held a deep affection for the nuns she shared a cottage with.

She was a very generous person who was willing to help others and always put others before herself.

She was a wonderful role model and was always a great support to her family. She is survived by her nephew, Terry Gallogly, niece Anne Steward and cousins.