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Charles (Charlie) Fox (1862–1936)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Charles (‘Charlie’) Fox (1862-1936), bricklayer, trade union leader, Labor activist

Birth: 12 December 1862 in Windsor, New South Wales, son of John Fox (1816-1886) and Elizabeth, née Hamblyn. Both parents were born in Castle Cary, Somerset, England, where John was a fisherman and Eliza a house servant. Marriage: 28 October 1895 at St Peters, NSW, with Primitive Methodist forms, to Margaret Caroline Walker. They had a daughter and two sons. Death: 8 November 1936 at Paddington, NSW. Religion: Anglican.  

  • Parents, who could both read and write, had arrived in NSW aboard the Petrel on 19 November 1849 and settled at Windsor, where John, sexton of St Matthew’s Anglican Church for 36 years, drowned in the Hawkesbury river, leaving a wife and numerous children.
  • Charles was a pioneer of the labour and industrial movements in NSW. An active member from 1883 of the Operative Bricklayers’ Society of which he served eight years as president and several years as secretary and representative on the Eight Hours committee. He was one of the original delegates of the Building Trades Council established about 1893.
  • Organised formation of several trade unions, including the powerful United Storemen’s Union of NSW founded in October 1907.
  • Sometime vice president and in 1913-1914 president of the NSW Labor Council, for which he received an honorarium of £26 per year.
  • In November 1913 attended conference of industrial governing bodies of the Commonwealth held in Adelaide.
  • Long active in and sometime executive member of the NSW Political Labor League [Australian Labor Party]. Elected president of the Flinders branch in 1901. Outspoken advocate of women’s rights. In 1902 opposed motion that married women be restricted in employment. At 1914 Labor conference his motion, as delegate for Surry Hills PLL, that executive consist of equal numbers of men and women was lost by a large majority.
  • In 1917 federal election was a returning officer in preselection of Labor candidate for East Sydney.
  • Appointed a Justice of the Peace in April 1911.
  • Also active in the Parents and Citizens Federation of NSW and in numerous charities.
  • Ceased industrial activity after World War I.
  • Freemason.

Additional Resources

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Fox, Charles (Charlie) (1862–1936)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


12 December, 1862
Windsor, New South Wales, Australia


8 November, 1936 (aged 73)
Paddington, Sydney, 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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism