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Phillip John (Phil) Halfpenny (1860–1931)

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Phillip John (Phil) Halfpenny (1860-1931) hatter, trade unionist and Socialist 

Birth: 20 December 1860 at Richmond, Victoria, son of Thomas Halfpenny (1802-1894), a quarryman, later park ranger, born at Hammersmith, Middlesex, England, and Ann (Nancy), née Sullivan (1826-1901), born at Cork, Ireland. Marriage: 1881 at Collingwood, Victoria, to Caroline Stevens (1862-1928). They had three daughters and six sons. Death: 14 January 1931 at South Oakleigh, Victoria. 

  • Activist in Felt Hatters' Union. In 1902 was elected first president of Richmond branch of the Labor Politial Council. Became Secretary of Social Democratic Party, Melbourne (1904).
  • Candidate for councillor, North Ward, Richmond, in August 1902 and August 1905.
  • Long-time member of Victorian branch of Socialist Labor Party (SLP). With Mark Feinberg and others transferred allegiance to Australasian Socialist Party in 1917 falling-out with Sydney-based SLP leaders, O. Moroney and E. E. Judd, over issue of unity with ASP.
  • Cause of death: myocarditis and pulmonary oedema.

Verity Burgmann, In Our Time: Socialism and the Rise of Labor, 1885-1905, (Sydney, 1985); R. Sharpe MA thesis, 2003.

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Citation details

'Halfpenny, Phillip John (Phil) (1860–1931)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


20 December, 1860
Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


14 January, 1931 (aged 70)
Oakleigh, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism