Murphy, John Joseph  | 1996

John Joseph Murphy

The Honourable John Joseph Murphy was born in St. John's on May 13, 1849, the son of Captain James Murphy and Alice (McDonald) Murphy of Catalina. He was educated at St. Bonaventure's College, St. John's.

In 1904, John sold his sawmill and shipbuilding plant at Gambo and moved to St. John's where he became involved in an industry that would form the focal point of his career, hydroelectric development. He went on to establish the Sidney Mines Electric Company and held a controlling interest in United Towns Electric. He also played an instrumental role in the development of Newfoundland's province-wide telephone service. In 1919, John Murphy acquired the Anglo American Telephone system in St. John's, later incorporated as the Avalon Telephone Company. In 1932, John established the Dominion Broadcasting Company and the radio station VONF. The station was later acquired by the Commission Government and became The Broadcasting Corporation of Newfoundland. In 1949, when Newfoundland joined Confederation with Canada, it became a part of the CBC.

John also spent time in the political arena. In 1908, he was elected M.H.A. for Harbour Main and was instrumental in linking smaller communities by telephone to a larger telegraph office. John served in the House of Assembly until 1913 when he was appointed to the Legislative Council where he served until the advent of Commission Government in 1934.

The Honourable John Joseph Murphy died on August 04, 1938, at the age of 89.

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