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Reuben Gill (1827–1884)

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Gill, Reuben (1827-1884) coal miner, trade union official, insurance agent, preacher and Rechabite

Birth: December 1827 and baptised on 6 January 1828 at St Gluvias, Cornwall, England, son of Reuben Welch Gill (1803-1852), copper miner, and Mary, née Andrew (b.1802), laundress. Marriages: (1) January 1852 at Redruth, Cornwall, to Caroline Morcom (1830-1855). (2) 24 February 1856 at Kooringa, South Australia, to Nanny Tozer (1832-1896), born at St Stithians, Cornwall, who had worked as a copper miner there as an 18-year-old. They had three sons and four daughters. Death: 11 January 1884 at New Thebarton, Adelaide, SA. 

  • Received little education. Taught himself to read and write. Reached South Australia on 19 February 1855 aboard the Nile with first wife and eldest child, both of whom died soon after arriving. Worked at Burra as coal miner.
  • Spent time in Sandhurst (Bendigo), Victoria, as miner before returning to Moonta. Co-leader of Miners’ Union formed after ‘Great Strike’ of 1874, Moonta, SA.
  • A lecturer and preacher in the Bible Christian Church, noted for eloquence at shaft-top meetings. Advocated teetotalism and was “an energetic worker among the Rechabites”.
  • Occupation on his death certificate given as life insurance agent. Cause of death: phthisis pulmonary.

Jim Moss, Sound of trumpets: history of the labour movement in South Australia (Cowandilla, 1985); James Jupp (ed.), The Australian people: an encyclopedia of the nation, its people and their origins (North Ryde, NSW, 1988); Biographical Index of South Australians, 1836-1885.

Citation details

'Gill, Reuben (1827–1884)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


December, 1827
Cornwall, England


11 January, 1884 (aged 56)
New Thebarton, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Cause of Death


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