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Samuel Eugene (Sam) Deed (1858–1931)

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Samuel Eugene (Sam) Deed (1858-1931) miner, trade unionist and poet 

Birth: 14 April 1858 at Black Forest, South Australia, son of English parents Samuel Deed (1826-1910), born at Hammersmith, London, and Elizabeth (Betsy), née Cook (1832-1909), born at Wilcot, Wiltshire. Marriage: 7 February 1893 at St Patrick’s Church, Adelaide to native-born Mary Ann O’Sullivan (1862-1932). They had three sons. Death: 20 June 1931 at Peterborough, South Australia. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Attended Church of England school, Black Forest, South Australia. Started work at 12 years of age in a vineyard, then worked with gardening, droving and farming.
  • Went to Broken Hill, New South Wales, in 1886. Carted coke for Broken Hill Pty Ltd from Cockburn. Prospector. Underground miner at Proprietary mine. Became 'leaded' at 'Big Mine' in early days and condition still affected him in 1914.
  • Active in union movement both before and after World War I. Member of the Barrier Labor Federation. In 1913 was appointed check inspector for Amalgamated Miners’ Association (later Workers’ Industrial Union of Australasia). Held the post for four years.
  • Active in support of building a memorial in Sturt Park, Broken Hill, to the bandsmen drowned in the sinking of the Titanic; unveiled in December 1913.
  • Wrote poetry, mostly about the life of miners, often with socialist overtones. Published Whims and Fancies of a Savage Dreamer (Broken Hill, 1907) and Stray Leaves from the Life of a Dreamer (Broken Hill, 1917). Sometimes referred to as “Broken Hill’s poet laureate”.

Barrier Daily Truth
(Broken Hill), 22 June 1931; Brian Kennedy Silver, sin and sixpenny ale; a social history of Broken Hill (Melbourne, 1978) pp 115-116 & 122.

Additional Resources

  • tribute, Times and Northern Advertiser (Peterborough, SA), 3 July 1931, p 2

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Citation details

'Deed, Samuel Eugene (Sam) (1858–1931)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 31 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


14 April, 1858
Black Forest, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


20 June, 1931 (aged 73)
Peterborough, South Australia, 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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