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William Ainsworth (1875–1945)

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William Ainsworth (1875-1945) politician

Born 16 June 1875, Lambton, New South Wales. Son of John Ainsworth, schoolmaster and Sarah nee McKean. Never married. Died: 7 February 1945, Vaucluse, Sydney, New South Wales. Religion: Church of England.

  • Fireman and engine driver. Employed in NSW Railways Department. c. 1894, casually; 1900-03, cleaner; 1903-1911, fireman; 1911, driver.
  • Joined NSW Locomotive, Engine-drivers, Firemen and Cleaners Association (later Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen); NSW Secretary, 1911-1935, resigned due to ill-health;
  • member 1917 Strike Committee.
  • ALP MLC, 1925-1934, assisting union’s use of parliament as a forum for union’s grievances.
  • 1929, put case against restoring seniority of scabs from 1917 strike. ‘In Parliament he was not often heard, but when he had occasion to speak, as he did on the restoration of seniority for locomotive enginemen affected by the strike, in the whole history of which he was steeped, he was always assured of a closely attentive hearing by a full and respectful House’.

Heather Radi, Peter Spearrit and Elizabeth Hinton, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); Railway and Tramway Officers’ Gazette, 20 November 1935; Locomotive Journal, 8 March 1945; Greg Patmore, A history of industrial relations in the NSW Government Railways (PhD thesis University of Sydney, 1985).

Additional Resources

  • death notice, Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 8 February 1945, p 12

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Ainsworth, William (1875–1945)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


16 June, 1875
Lambton, New South Wales, Australia


7 February, 1945 (aged 69)
Vaucluse, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Events
Key Organisations
Political Activism