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Thomas (Tom) Beasley (1866–1912)

Thomas Beasley (1866-1912) watchmaker, trade union leader and writer 

Birth: 22 March 1866 in Sheffield, England, son of George Henry Beasley, brickmaker, and Elizabeth, née Scothern. Marriage: 14 December 1892 at St Peter’s, Sydney, to Ida Frederika Dege. They had one son and one daughter. Death: 20 October 1912 at Randwick, Sydney. Religion: Anglican.

  • Was working as a brickmaker in Wombwell, Yorkshire, in 1881. Later apprenticed to watchmaker.
  • 1886 arrived Sydney; established business in Erskine Street, later in Newtown. Possibly associated with Hard Cash.
  • Secretary, Labor Conference 1893; candidate in NSW Legislative Assembly elections 1894 for Newtown-St. Peters.
  • To Western Australia. Member, Social Democratic Federation of Western Australia. Member, Amalgamated Workers' Association (AWA). In 1902 AWA general secretary. Spoke out against AWA's opposition to presence of Italian workers, eventually forcing change in AWA policy.
  • Returned to Sydney about 1907. Wrote humorous verse under pseudonym 'Solomon Gay'. Secretary of Writers & Artists' Union.
  • Died of heart failure following influenza.

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).

Additional Resources

  • death notice, Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 21 October 1912, p 10
  • funeral notice, Sydney Morning Herald, 22 October 1912, p 7
  • funeral, Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 23 October 1912, p 10

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Beasley, Thomas (Tom) (1866–1912)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Gay, Solomon
  • Tomney

22 March, 1866
Sheffield, Yorkshire, England


20 October, 1912 (aged 46)
Coogee, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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