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Frederick Charles (Fred) Gilbert (1857–1930)

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Frederick Charles (Fred) Gilbert (1857-1930) miner and trade union leader 

Birth: 23 February 1857 at Truro, Cornwall, England, son of Thomas Gilbert (1825-1889), grocer, later miner, and Caroline, née Everall [or Eville] (1826-1911). Marriage: 20 June 1898 in St Michael’s Church, Wollongong, New South Wales, to Ann Elizabeth De Flon (1877-1965). They had one son and three daughters. Death: 26 April 1930 at Killingworth, NSW. Religion: Anglican. 

  • Arrived in Melbourne, Victoria, aboard the Antiope with his family at 6 years of age and went to Stawell. To Palmer River goldfield, Queensland, in 1878.
  • Member of Amalgamated Miners' Association (AMA), Newcastle, from 1890, honorary treasurer, lived at Cockle Creek. Went to Teralba, NSW, in 1894. Secretary of Teralba Mechanics Institute. Prominent in the Nil Desperandum Lodge, No. 642, of the Independent Order of Good Templars. Stage managed and acted in concerts and dramatic entertainments at Charlestown.
  • Went to Western Australia in 1895. Miner, North Boulder and Kalgoorlie. Foundation member of Amalgamated Workers’ Association, Kalgoorlie and Boulder branch with John and Richard Blamire and M. H. O'Connor. First secretary from 1896 to 1900. General secretary, AWA WA from 1899 to 1902.
  • Builder of Boulder Workers' Hall with Richard Blamire (which was reopened as a museum in 2000). Delegate to the AWA, Trades and Labor Congress, Coolgardie, in 1899 of which he was elected secretary (Trades and Labor Council ultimately became the Eastern Goldfields branch of the Australian Labor Party). Shareholder/key member of Westralian Worker which was printed in Boulder.
  • Prominent in working to secure the return of the first Labor Party. Member of Royal Commission on Mining in 1897-1898. Travelled to NSW for marriage in 1898 returned with wife.
  • Unsuccessful as Labor candidate for Boulder municipal council in November 1900. Returned to NSW in 1902. Miner at Newcastle. Clerk at Killingworth colliery, paymaster until death.
  • Wrote for NSW Worker and Newcastle Morning Herald under name of ‘DERF’.
  • Member of Charlesworth and of Killingworth progress associations. Member of anti-Asian group. Was a little less anti Italian. Sometime secretary of the Charlestown-Kahibah branch of the Political Labor League. Manager of the co-operative store at Charlestown. Suffered from bouts of rheumatic fever.
  • Appointed Justice of the Peace, at Killingworth, on 15 March 1915. Mrs Gilbert was prominent as a performer and accompanist at public concerts. She was honorary secretary of the Killingworth branch of the Red Cross Society and of the local Soldiers Comforts Fund from 1916 to 1918.

Information from John Gilbert; C. T. Stannage, A New History of Western Australia (Perth, 1981); A. H. Reid, The Early Years; Antiope, November 1868; Westralian Worker, 21 February 1902, p 3; Western Argus, 4 May 1899, p 14; Kalgoorlie Western Argus, 2 August 1900, p 34; Family Group Sheet; Info from biographical files held in Battye Library; Westralian Worker, 30 April 1937.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Gilbert, Frederick Charles (Fred) (1857–1930)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Frederick Gilbert, 1898

Frederick Gilbert, 1898

Kalgoorlie Western Argus, 4 August 1898, p 24

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Derf

23 February, 1857
Truro, Cornwall, England


26 April, 1930 (aged 73)
Killingworth, New South Wales, Australia

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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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