People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

John Robert (Johnny) Davies (1849–1926)

This article was published:

John Robert (Johnny) Davies (also known as John Robert Davis) (1849-1926) pedler and gaoled Socialist orator 

Baptised: on 27 May 1849 at St Peter’s Anglican church, Liverpool, England, son of James Davies, book-keeper of Cheapside, later customs officer, and Mary, née Richmond.  Marriages: 8 December 1873 at the Registrar’s office, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria, Mary White (1847-1918), a machinist, born at Hobart, Tasmania. They had four sons and two daughters. (2) 26 September 1923 at Registrar’s office, South Melbourne, to native-born Eliza Rebecca Lanyon (1867-1945), a whiteworker. Death: 3 February 1926 at Richmond, Victoria. 

  • Arrived in Victoria about 1855. He was a bootmaker living at Emerald Hill (South Melbourne), Melbourne, in 1873.
  • Said to have been one of the originators in 1891 or 1892 of the May day movement in Australia.
  • Member of the Footscray and Yarraville Political Labor League. Candidate for South ward, Footscray municipal council, several times, including August 1899 and August 1902.
  • On more than one occasion was gaoled in default of paying fines for addressing Socialist gatherings in Prahran. In November 1906 was oldest member of Victorian Socialist Party to be gaoled for part in Prahran Free Speech Committee.
  • Member and trustee of the Yarraville lodge of the Knights of Labor.
  • In 1908 formed ‘The Practical Brotherhood’ in Sydney with spiritualistic component, returning to Melbourne 1909.
  • Cause of death: arteriosclerosis.

Sources
Merrifield papers, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne; The Socialist, 12 January 1907, 16 October 1908.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Davies, John Robert (Johnny) (1849–1926)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/davies-john-robert-johnny-33570/text41963, accessed 22 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Davis, John Robert
Birth

1849
England

Death

3 February, 1926 (aged ~ 77)
Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

arteriosclerosis

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.

Occupation
Key Organisations
Key Places
Political Activism