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Robert (Bobby) Elliott (1864–1931)

This article was published:

Robert Elliott, by S. G. Wells, 1921

Robert Elliott, by S. G. Wells, 1921

Labor Call (Melbourne), 10 November 1921, p 8

Robert (Bobby) Elliott (1864-1931) compositor, trade union official 

Birth: 19 December 1864 at Hawick, Roxburghshire, Scotland, son of Thomas Elliott, weaver, and Margaret. Marriage: 1888 in Melbourne, Victoria, to Janet Thomson Miller (1862-1937), also born in Roxburghshire. They had two daughters and one son. Death: 19 December 1931 in his residence at Balwyn, Melbourne, Victoria. 

  • Compositor, apprenticed aged 11 for seven years, working on local newspaper, Hawick Express then in Dingwall and Edinburgh. Joined Scottish Typographical Association.
  • Migrated to Australia in 1886, first to Sydney then Melbourne where employed at Government Printing Office, Sands & McDougall and D. W. Paterson for 33 years before becoming full-time permanent officer of Typographical Society.
  • Held offices of jobbing president, treasurer, Victorian branch, before appointed full-time organiser, 1909.
  • Secretary-treasurer Victorian branch, Printing Industry Employees’ Union of Australia, 1921-1931.
  • Member of first Wages Board in printing industry. Union delegate to Melbourne Trades Hall Council and Eight Hour Committee. Member, Printing Committee, Victorian Apprenticeship Commission and of Printers’ Advisory Committee of Victorian Working Men’s College.
  • Director of Labor Call printing company.
  • First secretary Essendon branch of the Australian Labor Party.
  • Cause of death: chronic nephritis and uraemia.
  • ‘No union could have had a better member and a better officer. No man could have a better friend…his genial laugh relieved the tension for himself and his comrades’.

The Australasian Typographical Journal
, 7 October 1909; The Printing Trades Journal, 12 January 1932; Leslie John Louis, Trade unions and the Depression: a study of Victoria, 1930-1932 (Canberra, 1968); R. T. Fitzgerald, The printers of Melbourne: the history of a union (Melbourne, 1967.

Additional Resources

  • profile, Labor Call (Melbourne), 10 November 1921, p 8

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Elliott, Robert (Bobby) (1864–1931)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 24 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Robert Elliott, by S. G. Wells, 1921

Robert Elliott, by S. G. Wells, 1921

Labor Call (Melbourne), 10 November 1921, p 8

Life Summary [details]


19 December, 1864
Hawick, Roxburghshire, Scotland


19 December, 1931 (aged 67)
Balwyn, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

kidney 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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism