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William (Bill) Frame (1907–1987)

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William (Bill) Frame (1907-1987) ironworker, trade union official and Communist 

Birth: 24 August 1907 at Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, son of William Frame (1881-1963), mine under-manager, and Jemina Mary, née Valentine (1882-1948). Marriages: (1) July 1929 at Lithgow, New South Wales, to Martha Smith (1910-1929). They had one son. (2) 30 January 1934 at the Congregational Church, Wollongong, NSW, to Florence Simpson (1908-1975), born at Lochgelly, Fife, Scotland. They had one daughter and one son. Death: 30 September 1987 in Royal North Shore Hospital, North Sydney; usual residence Balgownie, Wollongong. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • Arrived in Australia about 1925. Was an ironworker at Lithgow in 1929.
  • In 1932 transferred to Port Kembla, delegate from Spin Pipe Department.
  • Assistant Secretary, Federated Ironworkers’ Association (FIA), Port Kembla, from 1937 to 1943, in wake of Annabel Strike, looking after office work.
  • Secretary of FIA, Port Kembla, 1943-1952.
  • Long term Communist Party of Australia member and South Coast District Committee member for several years. In 1941 stood as State Labor candidate against Australian Labor Party candidate, receiving 17% of vote.
  • Successfully dampened down industrial militancy during World War II.
  • Teetotaler, but accessible to union members in popular Steelworks Hotel run by Lindsay family.
  • Prominent in 1945 strike, organising relief for strikers. Organising munitions workers in Western Australia in 1945 when Balmain FIA dissidents attempted to address meetings.
  • Local popularity assisted the outmaneuvering of Groupers, who retained him due to skills as court advocate.
  • Believed that ballot rigging and innuendo that he was inebriated caused his defeat by Industrial Groups candidate by 6 votes in 1952.
  • Secretary of Taxi Co-operative, Wollongong. Secretary/Manager Wollongong Workers’ Club. Outstanding personal skills as meeting convenor.
  • Competent tennis player.
  • Cause of death: carcinoma (metastatic) and carcinoma of pancreas.

Information from Sally Bowen and Bill Frame (son) 1992; Illawarra Mercury, 1 October 1987; United States National Archives, Labor Attache’s Report No. 47, 22 May 1947; Beverley Firth, ‘The industrialisation of Wollongong with special reference to Australian Iron and Steel Proprietary Limited 1926-1976’, PhD thesis, Macquarie University, 1986.

Citation details

'Frame, William (Bill) (1907–1987)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


24 August, 1907
Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland


30 September, 1987 (aged 80)
North Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (pancreatic)

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.

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