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Roy Angus Cameron (1906–1997)

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Roy Angus Cameron (1906-1997) clerk and trade union leader

Birth: 8 June 1906 at Fremantle, Western Australia, son of Victorian-born parents Donald James Cameron, then a plumber, later Senator, and Georgina Elizabeth (Gina), née Werrin. Marriage: 23 February 1935 in St Aloysius's Catholic Church, Caulfield, Victoria to native-born Ida Lillian Gooding, a typist. They had a daughter and a son. Death: 30 July 1997 in Victoria.

  • Began 50-year trade union involvement with Tramway’s Union in Melbourne in 1924, being responsible for enrolling members and sorting out grievances. Among those he enrolled was Clarrie O’Shea. Served with Tramway’s Union until becoming general secretary of Federated Clerks Union in 1940.
  • For six years conducted the Union News column in Labor Call (Melbourne). Secretary of the Glen Iris branch of the Australia Labor Party for a number of years. Was defeated as selected Labor candidate for Prahran in the State elections in May 1940, and in a lively by-election for seat of Coburg in July that year.
  • Joined merchant navy in WW II and served in the south-west Pacific.
  • After stint as organiser, from 1946 to 1956 was Melbourne branch assistant-secretary of the Miscellaneous Workers’ Union. Elected president 1955 and was workers’ representative on 1956 Olympic Games Construction Committee. Formed formidable union duo with Ray Gietzelt, MWU secretary, to whom he deferred. Continued as president until resignation in 1978.
  • Opponent of Industrial Groups, becoming Victorian vice-president of ALP after 1955 split.
  • At various times he was president of Melbourne Trades Hall Council and Victorian branch, ALP, serving on state executive until this body was deposed in 1970. From 1960 he was THC representative on Melbourne Harbour Trust, having a hopper barge named after him.
  • Appointed Member of the Order of Australia in January 1980 for services to the trade union movement.

Margo Beasley, Wharfies: the history of the Waterside Workers’ Federation, (Rushcutters Bay, 1996); Federation News, December 1977, Jan-March 1980; Port Gazette, 12, 3, May 1974.

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'Cameron, Roy Angus (1906–1997)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012