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William Edward Brennan (1865–1937)

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William Brennan, 1910

William Brennan, 1910

William Edward Brennan (1865-1937) miner, trade union leader, and member of New South Wales parliament. 

Birth: 10 September 1865, Wallsend, NSW, son of Edward Brennan, miner, and Anastasia nee McCaffery. Marriage: 1888, Wallsend, Edith Mary McInnes. They had one son and four daughters. Death: 8 October 1937, Waratah, NSW. Religion: Methodist. 

  • Began work in mines, aged 14 years, at Wallsend and Co-operative Collieries.
  • 1901, Secretary, Wallsend Political Labor League. 1903-4, member, NSW Labor central executive. Represented Wallsend lodge on District Board from 1903.
  • 1908-27, Secretary, Northern District Colliery/Coal and Shale Employees' Federation. Fulfilled responsibilities efficiently but lacked dynamism and intellectuality of predecessor James Curley.
  • With Peter Bowling, Albert Burns and Andrew Gray, convicted on 10 February 1910 of conspiracy during 1909 strike. Released from Bathurst Gaol on 9 August 1910.
  • Foundation member, Council of Australasian Coal and Shale Employees' Federation, 1915.
  • Contested seat of Maitland for Labor 1917, 1920 & 1922. Member of the Legislative Council, NSW, December 1925-February 1934 (resigned). Member of the Legislative Assembly of NSW for Hamilton February 1934 (by-election) to April 1935 (lost pre-selection).
  • Employed as storeman after 1927, and later as compensation officer for coal owner, R.W. Miller.

Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt and Elizabeth Hinton, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); Edgar Ross, A history of the Miners' Federation of Australia ([Sydney] 1970).

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Citation details

'Brennan, William Edward (1865–1937)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

William Brennan, 1910

William Brennan, 1910

Life Summary [details]


10 September, 1865
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia


8 October, 1937 (aged 72)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

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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Political Activism