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Bronterre Washington Dooley (1867–1913)

This article was published:

Bronterre Dooley, n.d.

Bronterre Dooley, n.d.

Bronterre Washington Dooley (1867-1913) railway worker and carriage builder and politician 

Birth: 4 July 1867 at West Ham, London, England, son of Irish-born parents James Poland Dooley, a stonemason and storeman from Belfast, and (Katherine) Ann, née Harkin (1837-1881), from Leitrim. Marriages: (1) 29 March 1888 at the district registrar’s office, Redfern, Sydney, New South Wales, to Queensland-born Annie Creo Stanley (1865-1940). (2) 16 June 1904 [claiming to be a bachelor] at district registrar’s office, Geraldton, Western Australia, to native-born Helen Watson (1881-1933). They had two daughters and a son [who died in infancy]. Death: 19 October 1913 in a nursing home at West Perth, WA. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Arrived in New South Wales with parents and siblings about 1878. His father remarried after the death of his first wife.
  • Educated in Sydney. In 1884 he was apprenticed as a coachbuilder. Joined Sydney Coachbuilders’ Society in 1888. He deserted his wife and they were divorced in 1893. She reverted to her maiden name and became a notable trade union leader.
  • Dooley worked in outback areas of Australia and New Zealand.
  • To WA in 1897. Employed as coachbuilder by WA Railways Department. In 1898 was a foundation member and later life member, WA branch of Amalgamated Society of Engineers. 1901-2 delegate to WA Trades and Labor Council. Organised 8 Hour Demonstration. Carriage and coachbuilder at Geraldton from 1903.
  • First president, Victoria District General Workers’ Union. Founder, Geraldton Co-operative Society. Member, local Railway Ambulance Corps. President Railways’ Football Club. Prominent in Geraldton Dramatic Society. Served a term as member of Geraldton Municipal Council.
  • In 1891 had assisted in organising first Australian Labor Party participation in elections in NSW and was a member of Paddington branch. President Geraldton ALP branch.
  • Elected as Labor member of the WA Legislative Assembly for Geraldton on 5 October 1911. Held the seat until his death.
  • Was a prominent member and office bearer of the Geraldton lodge, United Ancient Order of Druids.
  • Cause of death reported to be “tuberculous affection of the throat”.

Cyclopedia of Western Australia
, vol 1, 1912; David Black and Geoffrey Bolton, Biographical Register of members of the parliament of Western Australia, vol 1, 1870-1930, (Perth, 1990) p 66; Merrifield papers, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Dooley, Bronterre Washington (1867–1913)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Bronterre Dooley, n.d.

Bronterre Dooley, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


4 July, 1867
London, Middlesex, England


19 October, 1913 (aged 46)
West Perth, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Cause of Death


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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism