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Archibald Gray (1858–1940)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Archibald Gray (1858-1940) coal miner, gaoled trade unionist, store-keeper, shire councillor

Birth: 17 May 1858 at Waterside, near Dalmellington, in Ayrshire, Scotland, son of Archibald Gray, collier, and Helen Hamilton, née McKay. Marriage: 1886 in Newcastle, New South Wales, to native-born Amelia Sexton (1861-1935). They had three daughters and three sons. Death: 15 October 1940 at West Wallsend, Newcastle, New South Wales. Religion: Anglican.

  • Went to work in Scottish mines at the age of 10.
  • Later migrated to South Africa where he enlisted in mounted police.
  • Arrived in Australia from South Africa in the Northern Monarch in September 1882 and was employed as a platelayer on the Dubbo-Bourke railway line. Worked in Lithgow Valley shale mines where he helped form an early trade union. His parents and other family members followed him to Australia in 1884.
  • From 1883 to 1886 Gray worked as a miner in Brown’s colliery at Minmi then went to Bullock Island (Wickham) colliery, Newcastle, where he was a miners’ delegate, before moving to Hetton colliery at Carrington. Here he was a sitting delegate at the time of the great strike of 1888.
  • He was member of the eight hours committee when riots at New Lambton broke out in which Alfred Edden was arrested.
  • Left mining industry and shifted to West Wallsend. Apart from a time in Kalgoorlie after the gold rush, he remained here for the rest of his life. He opened a general store, was elected councillor for the shire and was a long-time member of the West Wallsend Masonic Lodge (Lodge St Andrew).
  • Attempted to enlist in World War I but was rejected.
  • He also acquired 300 acres of farming and grazing land on the Dorrigo River.

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Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Gray, Archibald (1858–1940)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


17 May, 1858
Waterside, Ayrshire, Scotland


15 October, 1940 (aged 82)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

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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