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William James Gibb (1882–1952)

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William James Charles Lester Gibb (1882-1952) tailor, trade union official and politician 

Birth: 25 June 1882 at Redfern, Sydney, New South Wales, son of native-born parents James Lester Gibb (1860-1919), tram-driver, and Julia Ann, née Smith (1865-1947). Marriages: (1) 6 September 1905 to native-born Rose Adelaide Andrews. The marriage ended in divorce in 1922. (2) 9 December 1922 to native-born Elizabeth Kelly (1881-1947). (3) 14 April 1949 to native-born Charlotte Loud Dalton, née Lorden, late McMahon (1884-1974), a widow with two daughters. Death: 8 August 1952 at Darlinghurst, Sydney, NSW. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Educated at St Peters school, Surry Hills. Became a tailor and active in the union. Organiser in the Pressers' Union of NSW to 1917. Sometime president PU. Organiser NSW branch of Federated Clothing Trades' Union (FCTU) from 1917 to 1952.
  • Delegate to Labor Council of NSW; executive member 1918-1927; vice-president 1923-1927.
  • With FCTU secretary Jack Crombie he unsuccessfully opposed election of NSW branch delegates to Sydney One Big Union conference in 1918.
  • In 1922, with Peter Fallon and other organisers, he laid official complaints against Crombie. Member NSW Labor Central Executive 1923-1924. In 1923 he opposed expulsion of Communists from Australian Labor Party. Supported union's alliance with J. T. Lang. Delegate to ALP federal conference 1927-1928. Helped to establish Radio 2KY of which he was a director.
  • Federal president, Amalgamated Clothing & Allied Trades' Union 1928-1929; vice-president 1929.
  • Appointed member of NSW Legislative Council on 24 November 1931. After reconstitution of the council in 1933 Gibb failed to be elected to the new body so left parliament on 24 April 1934. Elected to a casual vacancy in the Legislative Council on 3 November 1943, he retained the seat until his death.
  • Cause of death: heart attack.

Bradon Ellem, In women’s hands? A history of clothing trades unionism in Australia (Sydney, 1989); Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt & Elizabeth Hinton (eds), Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); Labor Daily (Sydney], 13 January 1927; Labor Year Book, 1933, 1934/35.

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Citation details

'Gibb, William James (1882–1952)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

William Gibb, 1931

William Gibb, 1931

Sydney Morning Herald, 23 November 1931, p 12

Life Summary [details]


25 June, 1882
Redfern, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


8 August, 1952 (aged 70)
Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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