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Robert Chinchen (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: 27 July 1887 in church of St Francis de Sales, Haymarket, Sydney, to Sydney-born Catherine ‘Katie’ Williams (1864-1941), whose father was a quarry master. They had three sons and three 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”. His death certificate gives his cause of death as "cardiac dialatation and fibroid phthisis, duration four years".

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,, accessed 21 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Robert Chinchen, n.d.

Robert Chinchen, n.d.

Australian Town & Country Journal, 16 April 1913, p 28

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Life Summary [details]


15 February, 1864
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


11 April, 1913 (aged 49)
Ultimo, Sydney, New South Wales, 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.

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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