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Peter Christensen (1873–1959)

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Peter Christensen, n.d.

Peter Christensen, n.d.

Christensen, Christen Jacob Mauritz Peter Severin, known as Peter (1873-1959) blacksmith, picture framer and socialist 

Birth: 29 December 1873 in Nakskov, Denmark, son of Christian Hansen Christensen (1841-1890), blacksmith, and Vitta Frederikke, née Severin (1851-191). Marriages (1) 11 March 1897 at Sydney with Independent Baptist Church rites to Ethel May Crampton. They had two sons. In 1923 the marriage ended in divorce. (2) 1945 at Rockdale to Mary, née Pearse, late Pike, previously Freshwater (1861-1952). Death: 15 July 1959 at Enfield, Sydney. 

  • Arrived in Australia about 1881.
  • According to a later source, Peter and his father “conducted lectures and lantern slide shows on western country circuits in the latter half of the last century, and, in the tradition of picture-show men, they could do a song or dance routine or even a comedy act to supplement the confined attractions of the slides.”
  • The same source asserts that he and his son Eric, a cinema industry pioneer toured the Riverina circuit prior to World War II.
  • Joined Waterloo branch of Australian Socialist League prior to 1900 and became branch secretary. Sang ‘Down on the Farm’ at a musical propaganda meeting in Alexandria Town Hall in July 1902
  • Active in Sydney Industrial Workers of the World Club from its formation in 1907.
  • Honorary secretary of Socialist Labor Party central branch. Represented club at meetings in Adelaide where he attempted to forestall the formation of the first Chicago IWW Local in Australia.
  • With William Jeffrey formed dissident Balmain branch of SLP in 1920 to oppose E. E. Judd’s leadership of SLP. With other dissidents, expelled by Judd faction for attending meeting to form a Communist party in Sydney in 1920.
  • Stood as a Socialist candidate for the State electorate of Balmain in March 1920.
  • Was a picture-framer in Kingsgrove in the 1930s. Later lived at Sans Souci.
  • Cause of death: hypostatic pneumonia, chronic bronchitis and chronic myocarditis.

R. Sharpe MA thesis, 2003.

Citation details

'Christensen, Peter (1873–1959)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 28 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Peter Christensen, n.d.

Peter Christensen, n.d.

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Christensen, Christen Jacob Mauritz Peter

29 December, 1873
Nakskov, Denmark


15 July, 1959 (aged 85)
Enfield, 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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism