- 1890 - 1988 (Creation)
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Name of creator
Thomas (Tom) Wright was born in Scotland and emigrated to Australia about 1913 and was apprenticed in the sheet metal working trade at the age of fourteen. Wright joined the Sheet Metal Workers' Union in 1921 and in 1924 was appointed to the New South Wales Branch Executive of the Sheet Metal Workers' Union. He was the NSW Branch Secretary from 1936-1972, and was Federal President of the Union from 1940-1972. Wright pioneered amalgamations of the SMWU with the Jewellers' & Stove Makers' Unions in the 1930s and 1940s and contributed to the formation of the Amalgamated Metal Workers' Union. At the time of his retirement in 1972 he was the NSW State President and National Vice-President of the Amalgamated Metal Workers' Union.
Wright was a promoter of the ACTU in 1926-1927 and was the Sheet Metal Workers' Unions' delegate from 1938 to 1972, serving on the ACTU Executive for many years and on its Shipbuilding Sub-Committee from 1946-1963. He was actively involved on the Executive of the NSW Labor Council from the 1920s until his retirement in 1972. He was a member of the NSW Labor Council delegation which travelled to China and the Soviet Union in 1927. In 1943, Wright helped found the Metal Trades Federation on which he was a Sheet Metal Workers' Union delegate. He visited the Soviet Union again in 1952 and 1969, China in 1952, and in 1963 visited Cuba after the Batista regime was defeated.
Tom Wright and his wife, Mary, played a substantial part in the long campaign to achieve equal pay for women and were active in campaigns on Aboriginal rights.