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William McFarlane Dale (1862–1928)

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William McFarlane Dale (1862-1928) brickmaker, mineworker, council worker, active trade unionist

Birth: 7 April 1862 at Warcowie, Frome, South Australia, son of William Dale (1832-1886), labourer, later road inspector, and Mary Cockburn, née McFarlane (1836-1911), born in Glasgow, Scotland. Marriage: 1888 at Broken Hill, New South Wales, to Saran Ann ‘Annie’ Meadows (1866-1937). They had four daughters ands six sons. Death: 8 June 1928 in hospital at Broken Hill, New South Wales. Religion: Methodist. 

  • Moved to Stirling (North), near Port Augusta, with his parents when about 8 years old. After leaving school he gained apprenticeship in brickmaking at Greenbush which was halfway between Stirling North and Port Augusta. Continued in trade until Teetulpa goldrush in 1886.
  • After a few months he returned to Peterborough (then Petersburg), where he assisted in the manufacture of bricks for the culverts on Peterborough-Cockburn railway line. Near to finishing of Peterborough-Cockburn railway line went to Broken Hill, NSW.
  • Worked in smelters. Was vice-president of the Smelter Employee Branch of the Amalgamated Miners’ Association (AMA) by 1890. “Affected with lead”, left mines about 1908 after long period of convalescence in 1893 and later was frequently in hospital.
  • Worked for municipal council from 1908 to about 1926.
  • Treasurer of the Amalgamated Miners’ Association for seventeen years. Continued to serve on executive AMA when position of treasurer was abolished. Member of the strike committee in 1892 strike and found it difficult to gain employment for about one year after strike and “was hounded out of as many as four jobs in one week by J. Hanson”.
  • Secretary of the 8-hr committee in 1895. Executive member on Barrier Labor Federation and Political Labor League (later BDA ALP) including president.
  • President of Municipal Employees' Union. Contested position of alderman in 1902 and occupied position for several months during time in which the election result was successfully contested. Workers' representative on the Board of Management — including chairman for two years from 1915 — until ill-health intervened about 1927.
  • Cause of death: arteriosclerosis and broncho pneumonia.
  • Brother of George Dale and Richard Alexander Dale.

Daily Truth (Broken Hill) 9 June, 1928, p 3; George Dale The industrial history of Broken Hill, (Melbourne, 1918); H. J. Gibbney and Ann G. Smith, A Biographical Register 1788-1939, vol 1 (Canberra, 1987).

Additional Resources

  • funeral, Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW), 11 June 1928, p 3

Citation details

'Dale, William McFarlane (1862–1928)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


7 April, 1862
Hawker, South Australia, Australia


8 June, 1928 (aged 66)
Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


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