July 27, 2023
A giant of our Union – Allen Drew, former President of the NSW Energy District – passed away in June. Allen was popular and respected; having provided years of sterling service to Union members before his retirement in 2014.
Allen began his working life at Vales Point Power Station in 1973 as a cleaner/labourer. He became a storeman and moved to Wangi Power Station. In 1989 he was convinced to become a temporary relief Organiser and began with the FEDFA in October, predominately in the Energy Sector – and the rest is history.
Allen, Damian O’Connor and Lorraine Usher started the NSW Energy District in 1993.
Over the next 20 years – until the District’s future was secured through an amalgamation with the Northern Mining District – Allen guided the District through industrial and political turmoil at refineries and power stations dealing with tough employers at Shell and campaigning against privatisation of power stations.
Allen’s energetic industrial and political activity made an enormous difference to our members, who had his unswerving support.
Beyond his incredible service to our Union, Allen’s first love was rugby league. Allen played at all junior levels for Balmain and Captained S G Ball, Jersey Flegg and President’s Cup. He played for NSW as a schoolboy and was graded at 19, going on to play 3rd grade in 1970 and reserves in 1971. He was also a bench player for Balmain’s first grade side.
In 1972, Allen went to play in the Newcastle district for Macquarie followed by stints for Newcastle before playing a season for Hull in England. He then came back to Macquarie and then on to South Newcastle and Kurri Kurri before being appointed Captain Coach of Wallsend and then West Wallsend.
During those years Allen captained and coached the Newcastle Second Division Rep side for four years. He finally retired from Rugby League at 36 after a distinguished career in the toughest period in the toughest competitions in Sydney, Newcastle and England.
In his Rugby League career Allen played hard, straight up the middle and gave no quarter – qualities he would take into his time as a Union activist and leader. Allen Drew was a champion footballer, a champion unionist and a champion bloke.
We extend our condolences to Allen’s loved ones. May he rest in peace.