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Arthur Asquith (1874–1947)

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Arthur Asquith (1874-1947) coalminer and trade union official

Birth: 1 January 1874 at Castleford, Yorkshire, England, son of William Asquith (1833-1894), coalminer, and Elizabeth, née Wood (1837-1893), servant. Both parties had signed their marriage lines with a mark, and the husband’s name was given as ‘Askworth’. Marriage: 1894 at Outwood, Yorkshire, England, to Alice Commons (1875-1943), servant. They had one daughter and two sons. Death: 30 January 1947 in hospital at Wonthaggi, Victoria; usual residence Graham Street, Wonthaggi. Religion: Anglican. 

  • He and his brother Joseph William( born in 1876) were baptised at St Mary Magdalene Anglican Church, Outwood, Yorkshire, on 4 March 1893.
  • Arrived in Victoria about 1910. Worked as a coalminer at the State coal mine at Wonthaggi.
  • In 1915 he represented Victoria-Tasmania on Colliery Employees' Federation Delegate Board. In July 1916 he represented Victorian Coal Miners' Association at the first meeting of Central Council of newly-formed Australasian Coal & Shale Employees' Federation (AC&SEF).
  • In 1916 he stood unsuccessfully for AC&SEF vice-presidency, but continued to represent Victoria on Central Council. He was president of the Victorian and Tasmanian district of the AC&SEF from 1917 to 1932 at least. During the 1934 strike he was president of the relief committee. Described in 1934 as a militant minority movement member when he was elected federal representative on the Miners’ Federation central council in Sydney. Seems to have retired from public activity after the 1935 meeting.
  • A councillor on Wonthaggi Borough Council from 1915 to 1926 he was mayor of Wonthaggi in 1916-1917. Appointed Justice of the Peace by 1917. Endorsed Labor candidate for State seat of Mornington in October 1925 but did not contest the seat when the election was held in 1927.
  • Cause of death: myocarditis (5 years) and pulmonary fibrosis (15 years).

Edgar Ross, A history of the Miners' Federation of Australia ([Sydney] 1970).

Additional Resources

  • photo, Herald (Melbourne), 9 July 1920, p 10

Citation details

'Asquith, Arthur (1874–1947)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 31 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Arthur Asquith, 1920

Arthur Asquith, 1920

Herald (Melbourne), 9 July 1920, p 10

Life Summary [details]


1 January, 1874
Castleford, Yorkshire, England


30 January, 1947 (aged 73)
Wonthaggi, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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