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Augusto Enrico (Gus) Coloretti (1908–1982)

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Augusto Enrico 'Gus' Coloretti (1908-1982), hospital employee, trade union leader, municipal councillor and mayor 

Birth: 26 August 1908 [at Sarzana, Liguria, Italy, according to his naturalization application] son of Dante Coloretti (1882-1930), a labourer, and Luigia, née Cargiolli (1883-1968). Marriage: 1 February 1936 at St Mary’s Cathedral, Johannesberg, South Africa, to Ellen Hannah Gayton (1909-2004). They had two daughters. Death: 11 January 1982 at Richmond, Victoria. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Arrived in Australia in 1912. Parents and siblings also migrated. Became apprentice plasterer. Naturalized in Melbourne on 14 October 1931. Spent four years in South Africa, where he married, returning with his wife and elder daughter in the late 1930s.
  • Became trained male psychiatric nurse/chiropodist. President of Hospital Employees’ Federation, secretary and president of Victorian branches in 1950s. Federal secretary of the HEA in the 1960s.
  • Active anti-communist, involved in Australian Labor Party Split and member of Melbourne Trades Hall Council Equal Pay Committee, which he duly ignored and/or obstructed, while frustrating communication within the union.
  • Labor member of Richmond Council for ten years. In 1952 was elected mayor of Richmond. Created havoc when leaving ALP to join Democratic Labor Party. In 1960 left DLP and in 1969 was elected to Richmond Council as independent. Appointed Justice of the Peace and in June 1979 MBE. Wing of Richmond Creche named after him.
  • May have been one of the least efficacious union leaders in Australian history, though McCalman says he was a ‘gentle man… (whose) integrity and devotion to duty earned him wide respect’ and performed chiropody services free to old people at Richmond Dispensary.
  • Died of a heart attack.

Information from Zelda d’Aprano, 1998; Janet McCalman, Struggletown: public and private life in Richmond 1900-1965, (Melbourne, 1984); Labor, October 1954; Sun, 26 May 1969.

Citation details

'Coloretti, Augusto Enrico (Gus) (1908–1982)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 2 December 2023.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Gus Coloretti, 1953

Gus Coloretti, 1953

Argus (Melbourne), 7 August 1953, p 18

Life Summary [details]


26 August, 1908
Sarzana, Liguria, Italy


11 January, 1982 (aged 73)
Richmond, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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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