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William Spowart Bower (1858–1935)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

William [Spowart] Bower, also known as William Bowers (1858-1935) coal miner, alderman, trade union leader  

Birth: 1 June 1858 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, son of William Bower or Bowers (1837-1907), coal miner, and Grace, née Spowart (1834-1908). Marriage: 4 April 1879 in Dunfermline, to Jane Murray White (1859-1919). They had nine daughters and four sons. Death: 5 August 1935 in hospital at Morrisset, New South Wales. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • Worked as a miner in Dunfermline, Scotland.
  • Arrived in Australia with wife and youngest daughters, his parents and siblings as assisted immigrants aboard the barque Shenir, which reached Brisbane, Queensland, on 23 August 1880.
  • Lived for some time at Minmi, New South Wales. Then for 42 years worked at the Glebe Colliery, Newcastle, NSW.
  • Treasurer of the Glebe miner’s lodge for nearly 40 years and was a member of the delegate board.
  • On several occasions he was elected auditor of the northern district Amalgamated Miners’ Association and its successor the Colliery Employees’ Federation. During the “Bowling” strike of 1909-1910, when the leaders were arrested, including treasurer Amram Lewis, Bower took over as acting treasurer of the CEF until the chief officers were released from gaol.
  • He was chief of the Caledonian Society for several years, and sometime an alderman on the local council.
  • Cause of death was myocardial degeneration and atheroma.
  • At his death he was survived by two sons, five daughters, thirty-eight grandchildren, fourteen great-grandchildren and three brothers.

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Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Bower, William Spowart (1858–1935)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Bowers, William Spowart

1 June, 1858
Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland


5 August, 1935 (aged 77)
Lake Macquarie, 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.

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