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John (Jack) Eiffe (c. 1865–1941)

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John (Jack) Eiffe (c.1865-1941) coal trimmer, trade union official

Birth: about 1865 at Singleton, New South Wales son of Irish-born parents William Eiffe (c.1824-1867), police constable previously a soldier, and Hannah, née Connors (1837-1879). Marriage: details unknown to Esther surname unknown (d.1927). They fostered a daughter Grace, who died in 1938. Death: 27 February 1941 at Basin Wharf, Carrington, Newcastle, NSW. Religion: Anglican. 

  • Father died from a gunshot wound, accidentally received on duty. With his mother ill and receiving relief, Jack his brother William and his sister Honora were admitted to the Asylum for Destitute Children at Randwick, Sydney, in 1869. He was discharged on 2 November 1877 when he was apprenticed to Mr Bernard Gillen at Figtree, Wollongong.
  • In his early years he worked as a miner. Was a coal trimmer/waterside worker from 1898.
  • Helped found Newcastle coal trimmers’ branch of the Waterside Workers’ Federation (WWF) in 1901. Secretary of the branch from 1905 to 1908 and from 1918 to 1926. Sometime vice-president NSW executive of the WWF. Assisted in introduction of roster system. Was succeeded as secretary by Alex McLagan senior.
  • Became one of the oldest working members and remained active in branch affairs. For many years was secretary of the Carrington branch of the Australian Labor Party.
  • Died while working as a pin boss on a vessel at the age of 76. Had attended his last meeting four days before his death.
  • Coroner found that death was caused by heart failure, due to coronary occlusion. A widower, he was survived by a sister.

Maritime Worker
, 15 March 1941, p 8.

Additional Resources

  • tribute, Maritime Worker (Melbourne), 15 March 1941, p 8

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Citation details

'Eiffe, John (Jack) (c. 1865–1941)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


c. 1865
Singleton, New South Wales, Australia


27 February, 1941 (aged ~ 76)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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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