Bert Cremean

(Redirected from Herbert Cremean)

Herbert Michael "Bert" Cremean (8 May 1900 – 24 May 1945) was an Australian politician. He was a Labor Party member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly for the districts of Dandenong (1929–1932) and Clifton Hill (1934–1945). He was Deputy Premier of Victoria for four days in September 1943.[1]

Bert Cremean
Bert Cremean.jpg
8th Deputy Premier of Victoria
In office
14 September 1943 – 18 September 1943
PremierJohn Cain
Preceded byAlbert Lind
Succeeded byThomas Hollway
Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly
for Dandenong
In office
30 November 1929 – 22 April 1932
Preceded byFrank Groves
Succeeded byFrank Groves
Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly
for Clifton Hill
In office
20 August 1934 – 24 May 1945
Preceded byMaurice Blackburn
Succeeded byJack Cremean
Personal details
Herbert Michael Cremean

(1900-05-08)8 May 1900
Richmond, Victoria
Died24 May 1945(1945-05-24) (aged 45)
Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Political partyLabor Party
Alice Mosley
(m. 1924; died 1945)
RelationsJack Cremean (brother)
OccupationClerk, timberworker, machinist and tram driver

Early lifeEdit

In May 1900, Cremean was born near Richmond, a Melbourne neighborhood in the city center. His parents were Cecelia Hannah O'Connell and carpenter Timothy Carton Cremean. He was educated at St Ignatius' School in Richmond and St Patrick's College in East Melbourne, and held a broad range of occupations including clerk, timberworker, machinist and tram driver.[2]

Political careerEdit

Cremean's family were active in local Labor politics, with both his mother and uncle having served as mayor of the City of Richmond. Cremean joined Richmond Council in 1926, and was mayor from 1928 to 1929 during a time in which the council was split by factional rivalries. In 1929, Cremean sought preselection for the Victorian lower house seat of Richmond, but was defeated in controversial circumstances by Ted Cotter.[3] Cremean then sought and won preselection for the seat of Dandenong, and defeated the incumbent Nationalist member and railways minister Frank Groves at the 1929 state election.[4] Cremean represented Dandenong for one term, until Groves regained the seat for the United Australia Party at the election in 1932.[5] Following his defeat, Cremean worked as an assistant purchasing officer for the Vacuum Oil Company.[1]

In 1934, Cremean was preselected for the scheduled by-election for the seat of Clifton Hill, which was vacated by Maurice Blackburn who had resigned to contest the federal seat of Bourke. As the only candidate at the close of nominations, Cremean was elected unopposed.[6]

In 1941, Cremean was instrumental in the founding of "The Movement"—a consolidation of Catholic trade unions devoted to fighting communism. Although he would not live to see the Australian Labor Party split of 1955 which resulted, Cremean was the person who suggested the formation of the group, and worked closely with B. A. Santamaria to organise it. In December 1942, Cremean authored and published a booklet, Red Glows the Dawn: A History of the Australian Communist Party, under the pseudonym Michael Lamb, warning of communist tactics and infiltration of the Labor Party.[7]

In 1943, Cremean was appointed Deputy Premier of Victoria and Chief Secretary in the short-lived First Cain Ministry, which lasted less than four days before having its commission withdrawn after the Governor refused to dissolve the parliament on Premier John Cain's request.[8]


In 1945, Cremean underwent surgery for a long-standing colonic fistula at Mount St Evin's Hospital in Fitzroy, but he contracted peritonitis and died on 24 May.[2]

Cremean's death triggered a by-election for Clifton Hill, at which his brother, Jack Cremean, was elected.[9]


  1. ^ a b Cremean, Herbert Michael, Re-member (Parliament of Victoria).
  2. ^ a b Geoff Browne, 'Cremean, Herbert Michael (Bert) (1900–1945)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed 18 June 2013.
  3. ^ "PRE-SELECTION BITTERNESS". The Northern Star. Lismore, NSW: National Library of Australia. 10 July 1929. p. 7. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  4. ^ "VICTORIAN ELECTIONS". The Brisbane Courier. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 2 December 1929. p. 15. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  5. ^ "VICTORIAN ELECTIONS". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 16 May 1932. p. 13. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  6. ^ "Clifton Hill Seat". The Horsham Times. Vic.: National Library of Australia. 21 August 1934. p. 4. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  7. ^ Duncan, Bruce (2001): Crusade Or Conspiracy: Catholics and the Anti-Communist Struggle in Australia, UNSW Press. ISBN 0868407313.
  8. ^ "NEW STATE MINISTRY APPOINTED". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 15 September 1943. p. 3. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Labour Wins Clifton Hill Seat". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 9 July 1945. p. 12. Retrieved 18 June 2013.

External linksEdit

Victorian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by Member for Dandenong
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member for Clifton Hill
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Deputy Premier of Victoria
Succeeded by