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.

James Bergin (c. 1883–1956)

This article was published:

James Bergin (c.1883-1956) tramway employee and industrial officer 

Birth: possibly about 1883 at Allendale, Victoria, son of Michael Bergin, miner, and Ann, née McGovern. Marriage: 26 May 1922 at St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, Sydney, to Margaret Annie Cox. They had four sons. Death: 22 July 1956 in Caritas Christi Hospice, Kew, Melbourne. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Aged 14 worked on Victorian goldfields, Creswick.
  • 1910 moved resolution to form Victorian tramways union. (Victorian Branch, Australian Tramway Employees Association). Travelled world and joined Industrial Workers of the World in America.
  • On return to Melbourne resumed union activism as driver, Coburg Depot. Industrial officer with union for 12 years. His success in workers’ compensation cases led to the designation ‘Compensation Jim’. President 1928-34. Retired 1949.
  • Known for his expertise in Australian literature and lecturer on ‘the fervent proletarian poetry of J. K. McDougall. Author of The Trend of the Ages and Grass Gossamer. Literary talents evident in his presidential addresses.
  • Justice of the Peace.
  • After years of progressive muscular atrophy died of bronchopneumonia.

The Tramway Record
, June 1928, January, February and, December 1933, December 1934, January 1936, October 1941, February 1949, March 1949, April 1949 and September 1956.

Additional Resources

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Bergin, James (c. 1883–1956)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


c. 1883
Allendale, Victoria, Australia


22 July, 1956 (aged ~ 73)
Kew, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death


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
Key Places