Vale Michael Bowland

It is with deep sadness I pay tribute to Michael Boland – a strong leader of the union movement, a lifelong Labor supporter and a devoted husband and father. Michael was ‘Mick’ to his Irish friends, ‘Mike’ to his union mates, but to us all he is an inspiring migrant tale. Born in 1931 in Ireland on a small farm near a small town with no electricity and limited access to education, Michael rose to become a leader of the largest trade union in Australia and to found a fund with over $100 billion in investments. But it is more than the founding of Hostplus or leading of the Australian Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union that gives music to this migrant’s tale.

Michael helped establish the Gaelic Club and was also secretary of the Gaelic Athletic Association. He loved the Irish game of hurling as much as he loved the Aussie game of football. He lived here for 70 years. He loved and served Australia and never lost his accent. Like Mick, may we all never lose our accent. Like Mick, may we understand that to give is not to give up and that we are better off if we share both profits and perspective.

Michael had a gentle nature, a natural intelligence, a clever altruism and a generous spirit. It is these traits that saw him become a towering figure in the labour movement and in the Irish community, a man with many friends and a hero to his family. I thank Michael Boland for all he has done for the labour movement, for his community and for his beautiful family. He was a loving husband to Maureen, beloved father to Michelle, Liam and Kieran, and adored grandfather to James and Connal. Vale, Michael Boland.

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