Remembering John Coombs (1940-2021)


Remembering John Coombs (1940-2021)

It is with much sadness that we honour John Coombs - a legendary trade unionist and great humanitarian - who passed away this week, at the age of 81. 

An ardent trade unionist, John was the National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) from 1993-2000 and worked tirelessly as an advocate and respected voice for maritime workers. He was best known to the public as the leader of the MUA during the divisive 1998 Patrick waterfront dispute.

John was the Chairman of one of Maritime Super’s predecessor funds, the Stevedoring Employees Retirement Fund and joined the Board of Maritime Super as a highly valued Independent Director from 2009 until 2015.

“John was a wonderful man, much respected by all who had the pleasure to know him. He fought tirelessly for workers’ rights and for the benefit of superannuation fund members. As a long-standing Director of the Fund, his contributions to Maritime Super and our members are well recognised, we are truly grateful for his time on the Board.” said Peter Robertson, Chief Executive Officer, Maritime Super.

“John will be greatly missed, a person of courage and character and enjoying the great wit and sense of humour of the Australian waterfront. He was tough and courageous in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and was a lightning rod for galvanizing actions against injustice and elitism, but also for aspirations of a genuine vision for Australian political, social, economic and industrial rights based on access and true process. 

His passion and commitment were without question, and always evident from the waterfront to the Boardroom backing members best interests as a Director of Maritime Super.” said Paddy Crumlin, National Secretary of the MUA.

A passionate humanitarian, John actively lobbied the Federal Government to increase funding into Multiple Sclerosis research, a cause very close to his heart after losing his son, Garry, to MS in 2009.

John was deeply admired by all. 

Maritime Super extends our deepest sympathies and condolences to Gwen, his family and friends. 

Vale John Coombs.