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Walter Howard (Wally) Bourne (1873–1952)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Walter Howard (Wally) Bourne (1873-1952) printer and trade union leader

Birth: 29 October 1873 in Ballarat, Victoria, son of London-born Walter John Bourne (1841-1934), miner, and native-born Maria ‘Minie’, née Birtles (1855-1947). Marriage: 11 October 1892 at the Primitive Methodist Parsonage at Moonta Mines, in South Australia, to Mary Ann (‘Minnie’) Mellen. They had two daughters and two sons. Death: 3 January 1952 in South Perth, Western Australia. Religion: Anglican. 

  • Moved from SA to Victoria about 1890, and to WA about 1893, having “humped the bluey” from Minenew to Cue.
  • Following three years engaged in mining and other avocations on the Murchison and Menzies goldfields, went to Perth where he worked in private printing establishments and in 1896 joined the Typographical Society. He entered the Government Printing Office in 1897.
  • An active unionist, he was president and WA councillor to the Printing Industry Employees Union of Australia, twice represented the union at Melbourne and Brisbane, and at the State Labor Congress at Bunbury in 1910.
  • Connected with the first Labor Party in the metropolitan area he was secretary of the first branch, Subiaco. He also represented the eastern goldfields district council of the State executive of the ALP for many years.
  • In 1913 was one of the founders of the Workers’ Educational Association which closed with the outbreak of war.
  • Retired in December 1938.
  • His son Geoffrey (1909-1988), who became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America, was an internationally acclaimed nutritionist and author.
  • Cause of death was myocardial infarction, having suffered from hypertension and arteriosclerosis for three year and diabetes for one year.

Additional Resources

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Bourne, Walter Howard (Wally) (1873–1952)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


29 October, 1873
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia


3 January, 1952 (aged 78)
South Perth, Perth, Western Australia, 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
Key Places
Political Activism