A State Funeral for a 'Man of Integrity'

October 1959

The funeral arranged for the Honourable John Joseph Cahill M.L.A., the only NSW Premier to have died in office, was one of the most substantial services that WN Bull Funerals has ever arranged.

Records kept by then manager John Quain reveal that WN Bull had previously conducted funeral services for both of Premier Cahill’s parents as well as other relatives, and that Premier Cahill’s surviving family members had specifically chosen WN Bull to carry out the funeral arrangements.

Reporting on Mr Cahill’s sudden and unexpected death, the Sydney Morning Herald characterised him as “shrewd, devoted, tireless” and “one of the most powerful, respected and successful figures in the Australian Labor movement”.

A photographic album preserved by WN Bull features images of the funeral service and procession and is accompanied by a detailed description of the motorcade which accompanied Premier Cahill’s coffin.

WN Bull Funerals arranged the state funeral for Mr Cahill.

“…it was led by Mounted Police and Foot Police at slow funeral march to the corner of Park and Elizabeth Street where the foot Police halted, and the mounted police continued down to George Street to Railway Square where they handed over to a Motor Cycle Escort comprising six cyclists immediately in front, and three outriders on each side of the road, and a motor car a quarter of a mile ahead.”

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that more than 160 cars followed the funeral procession, while crowds lined the streets for the entire 10 miles between St Mary’s Cathedral and Rookwood Cemetery.

“The elaborate State funerals such as the one arranged by John Quain and his staff for Premier Cahill are very memorable due to the scale of the ceremony. But WN Bull considers every service that we arrange and conduct – regardless of size – to be of equal importance, due to the significance of each individual funeral for the family and friends of the deceased,” said Patsy Healy, General Manager at WN Bull.