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James Graham (1856–1924)

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James Graham (1856-1924) engine driver and trade union official

Birth: 10 March 1856 at Kircaldy, Fife, Scotland, son of Charles Graham (1826-?), journeyman flour miller, and Ellen, née Bissett (1831-?). Marriage: 19 April 1880 at Stawell, Victoria, to native-born Jane Smeaton (1857-1922). They had four daughters and five sons.  Death: 26 August 1924 at North Fitzroy, Melbourne. Religion: Methodist. 

  • Arrived in Victoria about 1879.
  • ‘Father’ of Federated Engine Drivers’ and Firemens’ Assocation, Victoria, 1888, serving 15 terms as president.
  • Over 35 years held continuous executive office, Wages Board delegate, Treasurer, President, and Federal Councillor from inception of union.
  • Held office in Eight-Hour Committee for 29 years and was delegate to Melbourne Trades Hall Council.
  • His wife made Engine Drivers badges and supplied the ribbons for early Eight-hour processions. In November 1921 both she and her husband received gold watches for their contribution to the union.
  • The couple visited Scotland in 1922.

The Safety Valve
, December 1921.

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Citation details

'Graham, James (1856–1924)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 28 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


10 March, 1856
Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland


26 August, 1924 (aged 68)
Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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