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Ebenezer Cheary (1879–1963)

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Ebenezer Cheary (1879-1963) printer and trade union leader 

Birth 18 June 1879 at Battersea, Surrey, England, son of Levi William Cheary (1847-1916), carpenter and joiner, later builder, and Sarah Ann, née Brittain (1845-1900). Marriages: (1) 1900 in Adelaide, South Australia, to native-born Alice May Richards (1876-1938). They had three daughters and one son. (2) about 1940 to Kate Harriet Hand (d. 1962). Death: 15 February 1963 at Bridgewater, SA. 

  • Arrived in South Australia with his parents and siblings aboard the Glamis in June 1883. His father erected many fine buildings in the city and suburbs or Adelaide, was a member of the Cosmopolitan Friendly Society and the Freemason’s Lodge of Truth and was actively interested in charitable institutions. Ebenezer’s brothers James William Cheary (1877-1956) and Frederick Cheary (1884-1967) were also building contractors.
  • Served apprenticeship as printer at South Australian Government Printing Office, where he was employed as compositor clicker until 1924.
  • Joined South Australian Typographical Association in 1901, transferring to Printing Industry Employees’ Union of Australia (PIEUA)  in 1916. Secretary, South Australian Branch of the PIEUA from 1924 to 1947. Vice-president of federal branch, 1925-43. President in 1940 and 1943-44.
  • Represented branch on Printers Wages Board, South Australian Trades and Labor Council, Australian Labor Party conferences and the Council of South Australian School of Mines.
  • Was also foreman of the day Hansard staff of the South Australian parliament.
  • President and vice president of Workers’ Educational Association in Adelaide, member of Joint Council for tutorial classes. Chairman of Adelaide Co-operative Society. Vice-president and life member of the St Andrews’s Literary Society. President of the Goodwood District Recreation Ground Association.
  • President, Labor Day Celebrations Committee. General Secretary, SA Literary Societies Union for 5 years, with diverse cultural interests — leader of second violins in Adelaide Grand Orchestra, also played tenor horn in Holdfast Bay Brass Band.
  • Member of ALP Council for 20 years. Retired in 1947.
  • Cause of death: cerebral haemorrhage, arteriosclerosis and angina.

Printing Trades Journal
, 14 April 1925, 8 September 1925, 11 June 1929, July 1947, March 1963; Labor Year Book, 1934/5.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Cheary, Ebenezer (1879–1963)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


18 June, 1879
London, Middlesex, England


15 February, 1963 (aged 83)
Bridgewater, South Australia, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

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