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John Dixon (1842–1900)

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John Dixon (1842-1900) geologist, trade union official, senior inspector of collieries 

Birth: 11 April 1842 at Haswell, Durham, England, son of Jonathan Dixon (1821-1869) and Ann Sanderson, nee Willis (1821-1899). Marriage: 11 January 1866 at the Glebe, Newcastle, New South Wales, to Mary Lingard (1844-1899). They had two daughters and one son. Death: 15 August 1900 at New South Wales. Religion: Primitive Methodist. 

  • Coalminer, Durham, England. Arrived in Melbourne, Victoria, with his parents and siblings aboard the Champion of the Scots in March 1857, described as a farmer in the passenger list. Revealed ability as geologist in search for shale in Blue Mountains area, New South Wales.
  • Transferred to Newcastle, discovering coal seam at Stockton while working for Australian Agricultural Co. Active in Hunter River Coal Miners' Mutual Protective Association (HRCMPA) in 1860s; temporary secretary at time of 1873 strike and subsequent agreement between Association and Vend employers.
  • Represented Borehole lodge on HRCMPA delegate board; association secretary 1876-1880, relinquishing position to James Curley.
  • 1878 instrumental in formation of Coal Miners' Mutual Protective Association of Western District following visit to the Vale of Clywdd and other Western NSW mining centres. An active Primitive Methodist lay preacher. Member of the Masonic Lodge St John, No.115, and of the Manchester Unity Order of Oddfellows’ Loyal Junction Lodge, No. 20.
  • After the explosion at Dudley Colliery in 1898 he was one of the first to descend into the mine and conduct search parties. Obituaries reported that he was popular with colliery proprietors and the miners — “one of the most trusted and valued officers of the Department of Mines”.

Robin Gollan, The coalminers of New South Wales: a history of the Union (Melbourne, 1963); Edgar Ross, A history of the Miners' Federation of Australia ([Sydney] 1970).

Additional Resources

  • funeral, Newcastle Morning Herald (NSW), 18 August 1900, p 6

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Citation details

'Dixon, John (1842–1900)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

John Dixon

John Dixon

Sydney Mail, 25 August 1900, p 445

Life Summary [details]


11 April, 1842
Haswell, Durham, England


15 August, 1900 (aged 58)
Newcastle, New South Wales, 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.

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.

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