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Stephen (Steve) Best (1899–1940)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Best, Stephen (Steve) (1899-1940) coal-miner and trade union official

Birth: 1899 at Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland, England, son of Stephen Best (1862-1915), coal-miner, and Mary Jane, née Latimer. Unmarried. Death: 25 May 1940 in Manly hospital after a car accident at French’s Forest, Sydney, NSW. Religion: Anglican. 

  • Was a schoolboy living with his parents at Dawdon, Seaham Harbour, Durham, in the 1911 England census.
  • Reached Australia with his parents in about 1913. Family settled at Mount Kembla, NSW, where Steve worked from an early age in the mine with his father, who died only two years after the family’s arrival, and older brother William Thomas.
  • Later moved with his mother and siblings to Corrimal, NSW.
  • An active member of the Coledale Lodge of the Miners’ Federation. Was victimised at the Coledale Colliery in 1926, after which he was unable to secure work in any of the district mines. Later succeeded in obtaining a job on the construction works at Australian Iron and Steel (at that time Hoskins Ltd), but was again victimized.
  • With Jim Ward was primarily responsible for the establishment in the district of a Trades and Labor Council, of which he was long-time secretary.
  • Worked for the unemployed during the Depression. Responsible for the organisation of the Southern District “No Conscription” campaign.
  • Gave his time and energy to the Australian Labor Party. Worked untiringly on behalf of the reconstructed Daily News in the southern district.
  • Interested in bowling, and was president of the Corrimal Bowling Club.

Additional Resources

  • photo, Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW), 6 May 1938, p 9
  • photo, Tribune (Sydney, NSW : 1939 - 1991) 12 September 1939: 4

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Best, Stephen (Steve) (1899–1940)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland, England


25 May, 1940 (aged ~ 41)
Manly, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

motor vehicle accident

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