Wright, Thomas

Identity area

Type of entity


Authorized form of name

Wright, Thomas

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • Tom Wright
  • TW Wright

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

1902 - 1981


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.


New South Wales; China; Soviet Union; Cuba

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

metalworker; political activist; trade unionist; trade union official

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Related entity

Wright, Mary (1903 - 1993)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship


Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship


Related entity

Sheet Metal Working Agricultural Implement and Stovemaking Industrial Union of Australia (1911 - 1972)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship


Dates of the relationship

1921 - 1972

Description of relationship

NSW Branch Secretary, 1936-1972; Federal President from 1940-1972.

Access points area


Control area

Authority record identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Entered from deposit description on 23 April 2012




Frank Bollins. “Veteran Trade Union Leader Dies”, Metal Worker, February 1981
Monash Library, http://www.lib.monash.edu.au/exhibitions/communism/com105.html (accessed on 23 April 2012)

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