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Robert (Bob) Hamilton (1900–1973)

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Robert (Bob) Hamilton (1900-1973) coalminer, trade union official, Communist

Birth: 1900 at Ballarat, Victoria, son of James Russell Hamilton (1864-1921), a miner, born at Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland, and native-born Annie née Watson (1874-1940). Marriages: (1) 1924 at Wonthaggi to native-born Edith Hunt (1909-1960). They had one daughter and two sons. (2) 1962 at Wonthaggi, Victoria,  to Lucia Romanoff, née Caile (1916-2013), born at Vicenza, Veneto, Italy, the widow of a Wonthaggi greengrocer. Death: 28 February 1973 at Wonthaggi, Victoria. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • His father and grandparents had arrived in Melbourne in 1866.
  • Later claimed to have enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at the age of 16 but was too young to go overseas.
  • Spent most of his working life as an employee of the State Coal Mine at Wonghaggi from about 1924. Was president, Victorian district, Australasian Coal & Shale Employees' Federation, for many years.
  • Hamilton was elected temporarily to the federation's general presidency by the Central Council during the 1949 coal strike in place of gaoled president Idris Williams.
  • Was Wonthaggi delegate to the Trades Hall Council and was an active member in 1954, when he was their elected representative on the Miners’ Pension Tribunal.
  • Stood as Communist Party of Australia candidate for the Federal seat of McMillan in the 1949 and 1954 elections. In the latter campaign he travelled by car from Wonthaggi to Trafalgar, to find that the local Scout Hall committee had cancelled the booking of the hall. An angered citizen offered the use of his home for the meeting.
  • President of Wonthaggi Hospital and took active interest in sporting activities in the district.
  • Cause of death: coronary occlusion and atherosclerosis.

Edgar Ross, A history of the Miners' Federation of Australia ([Sydney] 1970).

Additional Resources

  • photo, Herald (Melbourne), 30 July 1949, p 1
  • profile, Live Wire (Yallourn, Vic), 26 May 1954, p 9

Citation details

'Hamilton, Robert (Bob) (1900–1973)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Bob Hamilton, 1949

Bob Hamilton, 1949

Herald (Melbourne), 30 July 1949, p 1

Life Summary [details]


Ballarat, Victoria, Australia


28 February, 1973 (aged ~ 73)
Wonthaggi, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Cultural Heritage

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