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James (Jim) Fingleton (1876–1920)

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James (Jim) Fingleton (1876-1920) tram driver, trade union official and Labor politician 

Birth: 7 December 1876 at Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria, son of Irish-born parents James Fingleton (c.1846-1885), baker, and Mary, née Nolan (1850-1883). Marriage: 1903 at St Peter’s Church, Surry Hills, Sydney, New South Wales, to native-born Belinda May (Mary) Webb (1878-1955). They had two daughters and four sons. Death: 13 October 1920 at Waverley. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Arrived from Melbourne in NSW with parents about 1878. He and his three surviving siblings were orphaned at an early age.
  • Helped to organise Australian Workers’ Union in western NSW with Donald Macdonell and Jack Meehan. Joined NSW Railway and Tramway Department; conductor from 1902 to 1908, driver from 1908 to 1913.
  • Union organiser and president of Waverley Tramway Mutual Relief Association.
  • Joined Australian Labor Party in 1894, member of Waverley branch 1913. Opposed conscription.
  • Elected first Labor member of the Legislative Assembly for Waverley on 13 December 1913. Was defeated in February 1917. Elected member for Eastern Suburbs on 20 March 1920.
  • His eldest son Leslie James Fingleton (1904-1963) served in the Australian Imperial Force and afterwards in the Royal Australian Air force in World War II. John Henry (Jack) Fingleton (1908-1981) was a notable cricketer and journalist, Glen Harold James Fingleton (1910-1965) was a trade union official, and Walter Patrick Joseph Fingleton (1915-2012)) was a priest.
  • Cause of death: pulmonary tuberculosis. 

Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt and Elizabeth Hinton, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); Worker (Wagga), 28 August 1913; Maritime Worker, 14 July 1965 

Additional Resources

  • profile, Worker (Wagga, NSW), 28 August 1913, p 8

Citation details

'Fingleton, James (Jim) (1876–1920)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


7 December, 1876
Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


13 October, 1920 (aged 43)
Waverley, Sydney, New South Wales, 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