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Anthony (Bonny) Garrett (1862–1918)

by Peter D. Gardner

This article was published:

Anthony (Bonny) Garrett (1862-1918) coal miner, trade union leader and farmer

Birth: 24 December 1862 at Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, England, son of James Garratt [sic], Irish-born labourer in iron works, and Margrat [sic], née Tunney. Marriages: (1) 21 June 1890 at the Primitive Methodist church, Wollongong, New South Wales, to Elizabeth Dawson (1865-1899), born in Yorkshire, England. They had one daughter and two sons. (2) 1902 in Melbourne, Victoria, to Annie Murray (1868-1939). They had two daughters. Death: 12 August 1918 at Woorarra West, near Foster, Gippsland, Victoria. Religion: Methodist. 

  • Arrived in Australia about 1888.
  • Spent childhood with Dawes family (militant coal mining family) in the Korumburra (Victoria) and Collie (Western Australia) districts.
  • Active unionist in Korumburra district for ten years. With Samuel Bird was a founding member of Coal Creek Miners' Association 1893 and Coal Creek Accident Friendly Society 1894. Founding president Victorian Coal Miners' Association (VCMA) 1896.
  • After being blacklisted by coal companies during Victorian coal strike of 1903-04, he remained in the Gippsland region, first as a village settler in the Kardella labour colony (near Leongatha), and later as a bushworker and timber-getter in the Noojee-Mount Erica district.
  • Gave evidence to 1906 Royal Commission into the coal industry and was the only unionist to detail the conspiracy by coal companies to crush the VCMA, which he claimed emanated from an April 1901 meeting of the Jumbunna Coal Co. After the strike he was involved in setting up the Strezlecki Co-operative colliery.
  • Son James (1896-1915), a labourer, served in the Australian Imperial Force and was killed in action serving with the 7th Battalion at Gallipoli on 29 May 1915.
  • Described on his death certificate as a farmer. Cause of death: acute duodenal ulceration, perforation and shock. The funeral notice reported: “Father and son reunited”.

Great Southern Advocate,
1906 Royal Commission; Edgar Ross, A history of the Miners' Federation of Australia ([Sydney], 1970; information from J. Garrett (grandson); P. D. Gardner, Too old to rat: the radical miners of South Gippsland 1893-1904 (Ensay, Victoria, 1994).

Additional Resources

Citation details

Peter D. Gardner, 'Garrett, Anthony (Bonny) (1862–1918)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Garratt, Anthony

24 December, 1862
Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, England


12 August, 1918 (aged 55)
Foster, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

duodenal ulcer

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