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John Neale Davies (1824–1904)

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John Neale Davies (1824-1904) marine engineer, trade union official 

Birth: 18 September 1824 at Lambeth, Surrey, England, son of John Davies, ship builder, and Elizabeth, née Neale. Marriage: 1851 at Sydney, New South Wales to Harriet Clarke (1834-1885). They had three daughter and five sons. Death: 17 March 1904 at Balwyn, Victoria. 

  • In 1845 he joined the Romford Branch of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (ASE) in England and later became secretary of the Stratford Branch. In 1850 he was elected by a delegate meeting of engineers, smiths and patternmakers in Birmingham to help draw up the first rules of the ASE.
  • With twenty-six other ASE members and families he secured financial backing to emigrate to Australia on the Frances Walker which reached Sydney in October 1852.
  • On 8 October 1852 Davies had been elected secretary of the first colonial branch of the ASE, formed on passage to Australia. He served as secretary for twenty-five years.
  • Worked at Sydney Sugar Works until 1859. Moved to Victoria to work at Sandridge Sugar Refinery.
  • Pioneer of Melbourne South branch of ASE. Worked until 1897, including seven years on Henty Brothers Ladybird at Portland and for Warrnambool Steam Navigation Company.
  • Subject of play, The Ghost of John Davies, by Mona Brand.
  • Member of United Ancient Order of Druids, Royal Oak, No 6, lodge.
  • Cause of death: chronic Bright's disease and stricture of oesophagus

Merrifeld papers, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne; ABLative, Autumn Winter, 1990.

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Citation details

'Davies, John Neale (1824–1904)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


18 September, 1824
London, Middlesex, England


17 March, 1904 (aged 79)
Balwyn, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

kidney disease

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