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Chinchen, Robert (1864–1913)

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Robert Chinchen (1864-1913) stonemason and trade union leader 

Birth: 15 February 1864 in Sydney, New South Wales, son of Walter Chinchen (1839-1874), a stonemason, born in Wareham, Dorset, and Sydney-born Christiana, née London (1839-1919). Marriage: 1887 in church of St Francis de Sales, Haymarket, Sydney, to Sydney-born Catherine ‘Katie’ Williams (1864-1941). They had three sons and two daughters. Death: 11 April 1913 at his residence in Harris Street, Ultimo, Sydney. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Grandson of Robert Chinchen, stonemason, who had arrived in Sydney with his family in October 1854.
  • Stonemason and leader in Operative Stonemasons’ Society for over 30 years. At different times held the office of secretary and trustee, and was elected treasurer ten times.
  • Treasurer and trustee NSW Labor Council. For a long time he was connected with the annual Eight Hour demonstration, and in 1912 was assistant secretary of the Eight Hour Committee.
  • Visited Melbourne in 1906 to extol the merits of NSW Arbitration arrangements. Representative of stonemasons NSW TLC.
  • A member of various Political Labor Leagues, was sometime president of the Denison branch.
  • Having converted to Catholicism, he took an active part in Catholic church activities. Closely identified with friendly society work, from 1884 he was a member of the Australasian Holy Catholic Guild in which over time he held practically every office. Took prominent part in organisations and clubs for boys in the St Benedict’s and St Francis’s parishes.
  • Was in bad health for some nine months before his death from “stonemason’s phthisis”, “the disease peculiar to his trade”.

Sources
H. J. Gibbney & A. G. Smith, A Biographical Register 1788-1939, vol 1 (Canberra, 1987); Worker (Wagga, NSW), 10 May 1906, p 2; Legislative Council of NSW Half Yearly Report to 30 June 1913

Citation details

'Chinchen, Robert (1864–1913)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/chinchen-robert-32993/text41114, accessed 30 November 2022.

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