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Joseph (Joe) Coote (1877–1956)

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Joseph (Joe) Coote (1877-1956) labourer, sawmill worker and trade union leader 

Birth: 1877 in Sydney, son of native-born John Coote (1856-1910), a blacksmith, and Sarah Ann, née Stathers (1856-1891), born in West Ham, London, England. Marriage: 1907 in Sydney, New South Wales, to native-born Alice Jane Buckley (1886-1968). They had four daughters and two sons. Death 20 November 1956 in his residence at Alexandria, Sydney. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Joe’s great grandfather was a convict Joseph Coote/Coots (c.1795-1865).
  • Worked as rock chopper, pick and shovel labourer laying gas mains, waterfront lumper, farmhand, sawmill labourer, treefeller in Queensland, timbercutter at Kosciusko, NSW.
  • Active as executive member and president of Sawmill and Timber Yard Employees’ Union; delegate to NSW Trades and Labor Council, and trade union congresses.
  • In 1909 was elected to coveted position of assistant caretaker of Sydney Trades Hall.
  • 1910 initiated formation of Watchmen, Cleaners’ Union, which merged with other unions in 1915 to become Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union of Australia. Organiser-secretary from 1910 until deposed in 1924. Subsequently censured for having membership dues in arrears.
  • Freelance industrial advocate for unions from 1924 to 1951.
  • President Caterers’ Waitresses’ Union 1925 and 1931.
  • At end of life was a pensioner.

Margo Beasley, Wharfies: the history of the Waterside Workers’ Federation (Rushcutters Bay, 1996); Miscellaneous Worker, December 1956; Federation News, September 1958, September 1983; Minutes of NSW Branch (1920-1940) and Newcastle Branch (1928-1950), financial records, rule books, membership records (1916-1944), award files, photographs and medallion presented to Joe Coote (1912) held at the Noel Butlin Archives, ANU..

Citation details

'Coote, Joseph (Joe) (1877–1956)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


20 November, 1956 (aged ~ 79)
Alexandria, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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.

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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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