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.

Edward Crombie (Ted) Chambers (1866–1916)

This article was published:

Edward Crombie (Ted) Chambers (1866-1916) book keeper and trade union official 

Birth: 1866 at Clermont, Peak Downs, Queensland, son of Joshua Chambers (1835-1905), a goldminer, later carrier, born at Bow Brickhill, Buckinghamshire, England, and his first wife Sarah née Crombie (1842-1889), born at West Calder, Midlothian, Scotland. Marriage: 9 November 1892 in Holy Trinity Anglican church, Lara, Victoria, to native-born Jane Miriam Harding (1865-1918). They had four daughters and one son. Death: 8 July 1916 in hospital for the insane at Kew, Victoria.

  • He had moved with his parents to Victoria by 1875.
  • Ted became a book keeper and accountant at Bairnsdale. In 1893 was installed as a brother in the Bairnsdale lodge of the United Ancient Order of Druids. He also had experience in New South Wales and New Zealand. In 1894 he lobbied the Seddon government in New Zealand to legislate re office hours.
  • Moved to Melbourne, where he became active in clerks’ committee in 1899 which attempted to get parliament to limit hours of work for clerks and establish wages board in 1903. Elected paid secretary of Victorian Clerks’ Union in 1904.
  • VCU representative on Melbourne Trades Hall Council from 1906.
  • With his wife, he was active in Coburg Labor League in early 1900s and in 1910 he was a member of Australian Labor Party central executive, especially significant in highlighting concerns of women workers.
  • Cause of death broncho pneumonia and general paralysis of the insane.
  • Wife and three daughters active in labour movement.
  • Re daughters: Eileen Chambers VCU’s typist and stenographer during WW I. Constance Chambers comptometer operator who sat on the Clerks’ Wages Board in 1920s. Third daughter, Katherine Clarey, later Williams, organiser of Liquor Trades’ Union.

Melanie Nolan, ‘Sex or class? the politics of the earliest equal pay campaign in Victoria’, Labour History, November 1991, no. 61, p 111; Merrifield papers, LaTrobe Library, Melbourne.

Additional Resources

  • profile, Labor Call (Melbourne), 20 October 1910, p 3

Citation details

'Chambers, Edward Crombie (Ted) (1866–1916)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Ted Chambers, 1910

Ted Chambers, 1910

Labor Call (Melbourne), 20 October 1910, p 3

Life Summary [details]


Clermont, Queensland, Australia


8 July, 1916 (aged ~ 50)
Kew, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death


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.

Passenger Ship
Key Organisations
Political Activism