28 North Terrace Clifton Hill, a photo by Collingwood Historical Society on Flickr.
When you walk past this house in North Terrace do you ever wonder who lived there in the past? This was the house where Thomas “Tommy” Tunnecliffe lived. Tunnecliffe was born on 13 July 1869 at Coghills Creek, Victoria, son of John Tunnecliffe, a bootmaker from England. Tunnecliffe followed his father into this trade and gained his education from State schools and the Workingman’s College.
Active in the union movement, he became the member for West Melbourne in 1903 and was MLA for a short time until it was abolished. He stood unsuccessfully for the seat of Melbourne and the Senate but returned to State Parliament in 1907 in the seat of Eaglehawk which he held until his defeat in 1920. In 1924, after his return to Melbourne, he was returned to Victorian Parliament as the member for Collingwood a seat he held until ill health caused him to resign in 1947.
During this period he served as Chief Secretary, Minister for Railways and Electrical Undertakings, and acting Premier during the 1932 election in Premier Hogan’s absence overseas. After Hogan’s departure Tunnecliffe was elected leader of the Opposition, a position he held until 1935 when Labor moved to the cross-benches. In 1937-40 he was Speaker and later moved to the back benches. He died at 28 North Terrace on 2 February 1948 and was given a state funeral at Fawkner crematorium. Thomas Tunnecliffe was named in the Wren libel trial as politician Tom Trumbleward in Frank Hardy’s Power without Glory, and was allegedly under the Wren influence.
Tunnecliffe is one of the people that the Collingwood Historical Society is researching for inclusion in the Notables of Collingwood database that is being developed for inclusion on the website. Do you know anything about Thomas Tunnecliffe and his family or do you have stories about his time as Member for Collingwood? If so, we would love to hear from you. Please comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.