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John Charles Coupe (1843–1913)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

John Charles Coupe (1843-1913) colliery agent, farmer, Labor supporter, journalist, dog judge and poultry expert 

Birth: 7 May 1843 at Blythe, near Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England, son of John Charles Coupe (1818-1882), farmer of 300 acres, later coal merchant, and Henrietta, née Wellbourne (1817-1907). Marriage: June 1875 at Reigate, Surrey, to Sarah Alethea Russell (1847-1939). They had two daughters and four sons. Death: 4 June 1913 at Portarlington, Victoria. 

  • A “sturdy Democrat of the Chartist type”, “widely read on Socialistic and Labor literature generally, and … keen-brained in debate”.
  • Was a colliery agent and traveller in England. Arrived in Melbourne, Victoria, with wife and sons in 1886.
  • Returned for visit to England in 1892 with a commission to buy dogs for a number of fanciers.
  • Joined the Preston branch of the Political Labor Council almost at its inception. As branch president in the 1904-05 campaign earned the sobriquet “the old general".
  • Was associated with the Social Democratic Party in Melbourne, and was a member of the committee of the Victoria-Riverina branch of the Australian Workers’ Union.
  • For many years he wrote as ‘Kennelman’ about dogs, and as “Black-Red” about poultry for the Australasian (Melbourne). Was described as a journalist at Preston in 1903 electoral roll. 1906 became a farmer at Portarlington.
  • “Closely associated with the dog and poultry fancy, being for many years the most popular dog judge in Australia.”
  • Cause of death: pneumonia.

Additional Resources

  • death notice, Age (Melbourne), 6 June 1913, p 1
  • tribute, Australasian (Melbourne), 14 June 1913, p 32

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Coupe, John Charles (1843–1913)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 30 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

John Coupe

John Coupe

Labor Call (Melbourne), 26 June 1913, p 10

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Kennelman
  • Black-Red

7 May, 1843
Blythe, Nottinghamshire, England


4 June, 1913 (aged 70)
Portarlington, Victoria, 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.

Political Activism