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William Albion Gibbs (1879–1944)

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William Gibbs, n.d.

William Gibbs, n.d.

William Albion Gibbs (1879-1944) miner, clerk, trade union official and Senator 

Birth 5 July 1879 at Melbourne, Victoria, son of native-born parents Frederick Colin Gibbs (1844-1890), time-keeper later solicitor, and Mary Ann, née Murton (b.1854). Marriage: 27 June 1906 with Catholic rites at Cobar, New South Wales, to native-born Ellen Blanche Emery (1884-1939). They had one daughter and one son. Death: 17 August 1944 in his home at Belmore, Sydney. Religion: [on service record] Anglican; buried in Catholic section of Rookwood cemetery. 

  • Educated at King’s College, Fitzroy, Melbourne. Enlisted in Victorian Bushmen in 1901, served in South African War for two years. Returned to Victoria in 1902.
  • Moved to Cobar, NSW, worked as a miner. Was vice-president, first president and from 1911 to 1914 employed as State organiser of the Amalgamated Miners Association.
  • Enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 22 August 1914. Promoted company quarter-master sergeant. Served with the 2nd Battalion at Gallipoli. Invalided home. Discharged in Sydney on 18 May 1916.
  • Was initially active in Returned Servicemen’s association. Formed Returned Soldiers’ No Conscription League, 1917-26. Other members of committee included Cecil Horace Murphy and Timothy W. McCristal.
  • In 1918 was president of pro-Labor Returned Soldiers and Sailors Political League. From 1922 to 1923 he edited Labor News.
  • Was a member of Australian Labor Party State executive. Became assistant secretary of the NSW ALP. Unsuccessful Labor candidate for the State seats of Allowrie in 1917 and St George in 1920.
  • Selected by the NSW parliament to fill a casual vacancy in the Australian Senate on 1 April 1925 following the death of John Power. Was an active senator, speaking often on various topics. Lost preselection for the following election in October 1925. Stood for the Federal seat of Parkes in December 1931 as an anti-Lang ALP candidate.
  • Worked as a labourer in 1930 and as a clerk after 1933. Was granted a part military pension in 1936.
  • Cause of death: heart failure and arteriosclerosis.

Joan Rydon (ed.), A biographical register of the Commonwealth Parliament 1901-1972 (ANU Press, 1975); Labor Daily (Sydney), 13 January 1927; Worker, 8 April 1925; information from Terry King, 1991; King thesis; Geoffrey Hawker, Willian Albion Gibbs in Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate.

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Citation details

'Gibbs, William Albion (1879–1944)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

William Gibbs, n.d.

William Gibbs, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


5 July, 1879
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


17 August, 1944 (aged 65)
Belmore, 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.

Military Service
Key Organisations
Political Activism