Cr John Joseph Ginifer

John Joseph ‘Jack’ Ginifer became the local Member of Parliament for the state Legislative Assembly electorate of Keilor during the 1970s. This was an electoral district that includes the suburb of St Albans, but his connection with this area goes back to 1953 when he was transferred there as a teacher.

John Ginifer was born in Warracknabeal, 31 August 1927 to Joseph Ginifer, a Singer sewing machine salesman who had migrated from Worchester, England, and Agnes Harper. John was the oldest of five children to be born to the couple. The family moved to Benalla where John attended the Benalla primary and high schools before gaining his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne and then his teaching degree at the Melbourne Teachers College.

John’s career as a schoolteacher spanned more than twenty years, from 1945 to 1966, including teaching at schools as Benalla East, Jamieson St Primary School in Warrnambool, Goulburn Region, Tallarook, St Albans, Yearinga, Spotswood and Stewarton. In December 1951, at the Holy Trinity Church in Benalla, he married Audrey Christina Heaney of Stewarton, a fellow teacher at the Stewarton school. As well as being a teacher at the school, Audrey also supported the Mothers’ Club for more than ten years. both John and Audrey were well respected at the school and within the township.

In 1953, John Ginifer received a promotion to the St Albans state school and after which both he and Audrey were transferred to teach at the Spotswood state school (1954). It was at this stage that they were living at Greig Street in Seddon. We are not sure exactly when John’s interest in politics began, but his political career started in local government, as a councillor in the Williamstown City Council from 1955–1957. Just after his first term on council, the Ginifer family moved to Estelle Court, Altona North, and John’s interest in community affairs continued. This interest saw him running for the Altona shire council in 1960, where he was elected, gaining a clear majority of primary votes. John served as a councillor with the Shire of Altona from 1960–1969, including as Shire President in 1964/65. He was also on the state executive of the Labor Party from 1959 to 1966.

In 1966, Ginifer was elected at a by-election to the Victorian Legislative Assembly as a Labor member for the seat of Grant. Electoral redistributions saw the seat of Grant renamed Deer Park in 1967 and Keilor in 1976. While undertaking this role he also remained a councillor of the Altona Shire. In his maiden speech to the Parliament, John mentioned the unmade roads and the lack of drainage and sewerage in the electorate, which had been outstanding issues for decades.

On 3 February 1969, John Ginifer resigned from the now City of Altona council stating that he wished to devote more time to his Parliamentary duties. Councillor Ginifer was the 14th elected member of the Council of the Shire of Altona and was the 9th Shire President. He was elected in 1960, returned unopposed in 1965 and re-elected in 1966. Cr Ginifer had also been the Commissioner on the Board of Works to represent Altona Shire since February 1963 and was about to complete his second term and 6 years as a Commissioner in February 1969.

John was a very hard-working councillor for the people of Altona and representative for his state electorate. He served on several community organisations within Altona, including the Altona District Hospital, was on the Meat Industry committee from 1967-1970 and 1973-1979, on the Public Works committee in 1970-1973, the Public Accounts committee in 1979-1980 and the Public Accounts and Expenditure Review committee 1980-1981. He was also on the ALP State Executive 1959-1966 and held the position of secretary of the State Parliamentary Party 1980-1982.

In 1966, John Ginifer had raised the question of building a railway station between Albion and St Albans, but nothing happened. Not to be defeated, he raised the issue again in 1977 as the population was increasing around Furlong Road with the development of the Sunshine Park, Nickson, and Sheffield estates. In 1979, John Ginifer tabled, in parliament, a petition of 1200 signatures that a station be built, but in 1980, residents were told there were no funds to build a station. After more deputations, in January 1982 the Minister for Transport advised that funds would be allocated for the station. Work on the Furlong Road railway station commenced in March 1982.

On 8 April 1982, John Ginifer was made a minister in John Cain’s first cabinet as Minister for Consumer Affairs and Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, but he resigned from these posts, and from the parliament, a month later on 10 May, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. He died two months later on 9 July at the Epworth Hospital in Richmond. He was aged 54. A State Funeral was held at St Paul’s Cathedral, Flinders Street, Melbourne on 14 July 1982. John was survived by his wife, Audrey and their three daughters.

Later that month Tom Rigg, on behalf of the St Albans South Progress Association, wrote to Transport Minister Steve Crabb, asking that the name of the station be changed from the proposed ‘Furlong’ to ‘Ginifer’ in recognition of John’s hard work to get the station built and stated that “It would be a suitable memorial to his untiring work” within the electorate. The opening of the railway station was performed by Mr Steve Crabb, Minister for Transport, on Sunday 31 October 1982. Audrey Ginifer was present for the occasion. Apart from Ginifer station, John Joseph Ginifer’s works within his communities with the J. J. Ginifer Reserve and Ginifer Avenue in Altona North, Jack Ginifer Reserve in Gladstone Park, and Ginifer Court, a cul-de-sac in St Albans.


  1. Age – 12, 13 & 14 July 1982
  2. Altona Star – 1 September 1960, 3 October 1963, 6 October 1966, 5 February 1969
  3. Argus – 16 September 1950, 2 October 1953, 18 July 1956
  4. Benalla Ensign – 18 May 1950, 29 June 1950, 20 December 1951, 3 January 1952, 24 January 1952
  5. Broadmeadows Observer – 21 July 1982
  6. Canberra Times – 19 July 1982
  7. Herald – 7 Dec 1978
  8. Ribarow, J, Personalities of St Albans, 2020, Community Research and Management Services, Ascot Vale
  9. Keilor Messenger -20 July 1982
  10. Victorian Government Gazette – 19 May 1982, 13 July 1982
  11. Electoral Rolls – 1949 to 1980
  12. Victorian Teacher Records – JJ Ginifer and AC Heaney/Ginifer

Research by: Graeme Reilly (2022)

Edited by: Michelle Yu