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William Henry Gilbert (1869–1953)

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William Henry Gilbert (1869-1953) cooper, trade union official and Labor party activist

Birth: 1869 at Ballarat, Victoria, son of William Gilbert (1846-1876), miner, and Elizabeth Traunson, née Grubb (1846-1930). His parents had been born in Cornwall, England — William at Illogan and Elizabeth at Ludgvan – and had married at Ballarat, Victoria. Marriage: 10 September 1890 at Ballarat East, Victoria, to Charlotte (Lottie), née McIntyre (1871-1950). He was survived by three daughters and two sons. Death: 22 May 1953 at Norwood, Adelaide, South Australia. Religion: Church of Christ. 

  • Attended State school at Ballarat and was apprenticed at age of thirteen to coopering trade.
  • Arrived in Adelaide, South Australia, about 1891.
  • About 1898 was instrumental in organising the coopers into a union and was elected president of the Coopers’ Society. Secretary of the society in 1901 and in 1915.
  • Vice-president of the United Labor Party of SA in 1901 and president in 1902-1903.
  • Member of the West Torrens Working Men’s Association and represented it on the United Trades and Labor Council.
  • Member of the Cornish Society and for many years of the Adelaide Democratic Club.
  • Was a pensioner at the time of his death. Cause of death: broncho pneumonia and myocardial degeneration with auricular fibrillation.
  • Son William John Gilbert (1892-1915), bolt maker, served in No. 2 Veterinary Section, Australian Imperial Force, from October 1914 during World War I and died of typhoid fever on active service in hospital at Heliopolis, Egypt, on 6 August 1915.

Verity Burgmann, In Our Time: Socialism and the Rise of Labor, 1885-1905, (Sydney, 1985).

Additional Resources

  • profile, Herald (Adelaide), 2 November 1901, p 1

Citation details

'Gilbert, William Henry (1869–1953)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

William Gilbert, 1901

William Gilbert, 1901

Herald (Adelaide), 2 November 1901, p 1

Life Summary [details]


Ballarat, Victoria, Australia


22 May, 1953 (aged ~ 84)
Norwood, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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