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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Murphy, William Emmet

< The Dictionary of Australasian Biography

Murphy, William Emmet, was born in the city of Dublin in May 1843, where his father was a publican, and was educated at the Christian Brothers' College. Originally intended for the priesthood, he was apprenticed to his uncle at Liverpool, to the trade of cabinet-maker. In 1860 he volunteered as one of "O'Reilly's Brigade" for the defence of Pius IX., and landed at Civita Veochia, but with the other Irish volunteers was soon shipped back to Ireland. Returning to Liverpool, Mr. Murphy finished his apprenticeship and displayed his energy in helping to found the Liverpool Cabinetmakers' and Upholsterers' Apprentices' Society. He emigrated to Melbourne in 1865, and married in 1869. Mr. Murphy has been attached to the Trades Hall since his arrival in the colony; though, after following his trade for some years, he entered the Military Department, and for sixteen years was sergeant-major of Engineers. Subsequently Mr. Murphy established himself as a suburban auctioneer. He twice contested North Melbourne (in 1886 and 1889), on the latter occasion only losing the seat by 60 votes. Together with Mr. Hancock and Mr. Trenwith, Mr. Murphy played the most prominent part, so far as Victoria was concerned, in the late industrial conflict, which will always be known as "The Great Australian Strike."