Joe Thompson, AM, dies

FORMER ALP stalwart and Bellingen Shire councillor, the Honourable Joe Thompson AM, died in Coffs Harbour Hospital on Saturday night.

Born on July 25, 1925, he joined the RAAF in World War II, flying Lancaster bombers over Europe.

He was always a strong advocate of workers and their rights and joined the ALP in 1947.

He was a member of the Labor Council of NSW from 1959 until 1985, holding the position of president between 1983 and 1985.

He was extremely active in the union movement and was an elected union official with the Vehicle Builders' Union from 1959 to 1988, representing workers from the big car manufacturers of the time, Ford, General Motors and British Motors.

He was a member of the Legislative Council of the NSW Parliament from March, 1974, to November, 1988.

He was awarded the Order of Australia in 1981.

Locally, he was a Bellingen Shire councillor on three successive councils - from 1987 to 1991, 1991 until his resignation in November, 1994, and then again from 1995 to 1999.

Many in Urunga will remember Joe as having, more than anyone, stopped the proposed Bellinger Keys canal development and for getting Yellow Rock and Newry Island connected to the sewer.

He leaves behind his wife of nearly 62 years, Norma, and children Joy, Brian, Paul and Mark.

His funeral will be held this Thursday at 11am at the Holy Name Catholic Church in Urunga.

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