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Herbert Edwin Goodere (1842–1917)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Herbert Edwin Goodere (1842-1917) locomotive fitter and trade union founder

Birth: April 1842 in Brynmawr, Llanelly, Breconshire, Wales, son of William Goodere, schoolmaster, later labourer, later again painter, and Mary Ann Rogers, schoolmistress. Marriage: 1870 at Middlesborough, Yorkshire, England, to Elizabeth Sarah Varty. They had three daughters and one son. Death: 30 July 1917 at Bondi Junction, Sydney, New South Wales. Religion: Catholic.

  • A forge and mill labourer at Brynmawr, Breconshire, Wales, in 1861. He worked in 1871 as an engine fitter and lived at Saltley, Aston, Warwickshire, England, and in 1881 at Darlington, Durham. Reputedly, he was “for many years an earnest worker in the Amalgamated Society of Engineers in England and America”.
  • Arrived in Victoria aboard the Orient in 1884, settled in Sydney and was joined by his wife and daughters in December 1885.
  • In September 1888 he was installed as tyler in the Masonic Lodge Aurora, United Grand Lodge of NSW, which he had joined in July 1885.
  • In NSW worked as a locomotive fitter and became a member of the Balmain branch of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers of London, which he represented at the Intercolonial Trades Hall Congress in October 1885. By August 1887 he was president of the Amalgamated engineers’ Australian Council.
  • In February 1890 Goodere called a meeting of engineers, turners, machinists, millwrights, brassfinishers and coppersmiths which formed the Australasian Society of Engineers. The meeting elected him first president of the new society “to embrace the whole of the engineering trades”, a breakaway from the Amalgamated society which was accused of being controlled by its English headquarters. Its motto was “Advance Australia and everything Australian”
  • Though he relinquished the presidency later in 1890, he remained an important figure in the Australasian Engineers’ Society, was treasurer in 1893, 1895 and 1899, president again in 1905 and represented it at numerous conferences of iron trades industry unions and Labour gatherings.
  • He was also prominent in the Railway and Tramway Employees’ Hospital Fund. From 1893 to 1904 he was the first representative of the labour movement to be an elected member of the University of Sydney Extension board. Jack Cochran, Trades and Labor Council secretary, was the next.
  • Described as “a quiet and sincere man”, although self-taught, “a scholar of no mean order”. In November 1908 he was honoured by the society he founded at a harbour excursion at which he was presented with a complete set of Shakespeare’s works and a smoker’s companion. At a social evening in February 1913 Goodere was a guest of honour. In 1914 he declined nomination for a position in the Engineers Society due to “increasing years”.
  • The union he founded continued until it amalgamated with the Federated Ironworkers’ Association on 15 July 1991.
  • Cause of death: senility and paraplegia.

Malcolm Saunders and Neil Lloyd, ‘Arbitration or Collaboration? The Australasian Society of Engineers in South Australia, 1904-68’ in Labour History, 2011, volume 101, no 1. pp 123-144; Australian Trade Union Archives:

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Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Goodere, Herbert Edwin (1842–1917)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 26 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


April, 1842
Brynmawr, Breconshire, Wales


30 July, 1917 (aged 75)
Bondi Junction, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

general debility

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.

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