VOICE OF THE WEST: The Member for Warrego Jack Aiken.
VOICE OF THE WEST: The Member for Warrego Jack Aiken.

Former rural ALP MP Jack Aiken has died

THE last Labor Member for Warrego, Jack Aiken, died on Saturday.

Born in 1918, he was a man from another era.

According to family, he remembered early in life sitting on Henry Lawson's knee, and playing with his fob watch.

John Albert "Jack" Aiken grew up in Sydney to a poor family and came to Charleville homeless and looking for work. He stole food to survive and lived under what is still the old bridge over the Warrego River.

But he also paid for his five younger siblings to go to school.

He worked incredibly hard and eventually became one of the pillars of the community, working as a cockie, manager of the town's newsagency and the local Member of Parliament.

Daughter and store owner Judy Aiken said he was a Labor man through and through.

"He was bred with and died with Labor," she aid.

In parliament, Mr Aiken was labelled the 'Voice of the West' in a Courier Mail front page, because, said Judy, he never needed a microphone.

He was very loud, she said "especially when he was getting up me".

Mr Aiken was the last Labor member for Warrego, once a safe seat for the party.

In 1974, Charleville-born country party candidate Neil Turner became the first non-Labor member since 1908. The conservative parties have held the seat since.

Mr Aiken stayed in politics, becoming the mayor of the Murweh Shire from 1975 to 1978.


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