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Frost, Herbert Joseph (Bert) (1881–1947)

Herbert Joseph (Bert) Frost (1881-1947) taxi driver, theatre manager and trade union leader

Birth: 30 October 1881 in Mumbil, New South Wales, 11th of twelve children of John Frost (1823-1893), Irish-born farmer and publican, and Margaret, née Daly, who was born in NSW. Marriage: 19 August 1903 in Wesleyan Church, Cobar, NSW, to Beatrice Emily Green. They had one son, who died in infancy. Death: 14 August 1947 in Leichhardt, Sydney. Religion: Catholic. 

  • His father suicided, in the Wollondilly River, in January 1893.
  • Bert Frost was a labourer in 1904 at Cobar where he resided from 1901 to 1914 and was sometime Amalgamated Miners’ Association organiser.
  • Secretary, Lithgow Trades Hall, 1917-1920. Candidate for Labor preselection for Cobar parliamentary seat in 1918. Honorary treasurer of Influenza Relief Fund in 1919. Appointed justice of the peace in August 1920. Managed the Royal Theatre and boxing in Lithgow until he left in 1922.
  • Organiser, passenger section, Trolley Draymen and Motor Drivers' Union, later Amalgamated Road Transport Workers' Union (ARTWU), NSW branch, from 1927 to 1931, appointed to recruit bus drivers. Secretary ARTWU NSW from 1931 to 1934 (defeated). Alienated support of many bus drivers, who defected to other unions.
  • Seen as having mismanaged union response to Jack Lang government's attempts to rationalise, licence and tax private bus services in metropolitan area (1931). Relations with organisers also increasingly strained. Narrowly survived no confidence motion in 1931. After defeat, he was suspected of having burgled union office and taken account book and sum of money. 
  • Was a theatre manager and sometime secretary of Taxi Drivers’ Association in Sydney in the 1930s.
  • Cause of death broncho pneumonia, having suffered from pneumoconiosis for thirty years.

Sources
Mark Bray and Andrew Rimmer, Delivering the Goods; the Transport Workers’ Union in New South Wales 1888-1986 (Sydney, 1987).  

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Citation details

'Frost, Herbert Joseph (Bert) (1881–1947)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/frost-herbert-joseph-bert-32595/text40454, accessed 3 July 2022.

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