People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Charles Medland (Charley) Barlow (1872–1902)

This article was published:

Charles Medland 'Charley' Barlow (1872-1902) compositor, trade union leader and socialist 

Birth: 17 April 1872 and baptized in Lambeth, London, England. Son of William John Barlow, drill instructor, and his wife Frances, née Tippett. Never married. Death: 13 July 1902, Williamsdale, New South Wales. Religion: Anglican. 

  • Active member of NSW Typographical Association. Political Labor League (PLL) activist in early 1890s, supporter of The Australian Workman. In 1892, with H.E. Holland, launched short-lived weekly radical paper, the Liberal. Joined Australian Socialist League (ASL) in 1894; worked on short-lived Daily Post; regular speaker at ASL's Leigh House.
  • Supported ‘Solidarity Pledge Party’ in 1894 NSW Legislative Assembly election.
  • 1894-96, produced the weekly ASL paper, the Socialist, with co-founder Holland. 1896, gave financial assistance to Holland's family during his imprisonment for libel. Took charge of the paper while still in private employment as a compositor.
  • General secretary, PLL, for one year (in 1896-1897). Labor Party’s drift away from socialism led to resignation from PLL in 1897 with other ASL members; succeeded Andrew Thomson as general secretary of the ASL in same year, subsequently a strong critic of PLL. With Holland, co-produced ASL paper, the Collectivist (est. 1897), then The People and Collectivist (until 1899), then The People.
  • Elected NSW Typographical Association delegate to Sydney Labour Council,1900.
  • In 1901 diagnosed with consumption, went to Bathurst and Thirlmere to recuperate, and in winter 1902 to Williamsdale, near Queanbeyan. He was, recalled Harry Holland, 'an organiser with far greater capabilities than the rest of us'.
  • Like Thomson, he died of tuberculosis.

J. Gibbney & A. G. Smith, A Biographical Register 1788-1939, vol 1 (Canberra, 1987); Verity Burgmann, In Our Time: Socialism and the Rise of Labor, 1885-1905, (Sydney, 1985); R. Sharpe MA thesis, 2003; The People, 19 July 1902, p.3: International Socialist Review, 13 July 1907.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Barlow, Charles Medland (Charley) (1872–1902)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


17 April, 1872
London, Middlesex, England


13 July, 1902 (aged 30)
Williamsdale, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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 Organisations
Political Activism