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.

George Clifford Bodkin (1867–1930)

by Peter Sheldon

This article was published:

George Clifford Bodkin (1867-1930) miner, railway navvy, and trade union organiser

Birth: 2 January 1867 at Bogalong, near Yass, New South Wales, son of George Bodkin, an inn keeper who was born in Ohio, United States of America, and Mary, née Walsh, born in Jugiong, NSW.  Marriage: 6 December 1891 to Bridget Ellen Callaghan. They had six sons and three daughters. Death: 21 March 1930 at Marrickville, NSW. Religion: Catholic.

  • Drover, shearer, itinerant metal miner, labourer at Hoskins steelworks. Lithgow, railway navvy. ‘Endowed …with a massive physical frame’. Early union organiser among unskilled. President, Lithgow Smelterworkers Union. Full-time organiser c. 1910.
  • From 1915 secretary of Railway Workers and General Labourers’ Association of NSW. Architect of that union’s amalgamation with Australian Workers’ Union and was secretary of the Railway Industrial Branch, of the AWU from 1916 to 1928.
  • Self-serving, conservative mainstream labourist official. Involved in a series of internal brawls with contending officials and rank and file activists from early 1920s. In December 1927 internal opponents removed him for ballot rigging. He was suspended by January 1928 Convention for supporting Jack Lang.
  • Unsuccessful Australian Labor Party candidate in the NSW Legislative Assembly elections of 1917 (for Albury), 1920 (for Murrumbidgee) and 1925 (for Murray). Lived later part of his life at 15 Station Street, Marrickville.
  • Cause of death: arteriosclerosis and myocarditis.

Peter Sheldon, interview with Nick Bodkin, Sydney, 12 May 1988; The Navvy, 24 Oct 1916, Australian Worker, 26 Feb 1920; Labor News, 13 March 1920.

Additional Resources

Citation details

Peter Sheldon, 'Bodkin, George Clifford (1867–1930)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


2 January, 1867
Yass, New South Wales, Australia


21 March, 1930 (aged 63)
Marrickville, 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