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William Pitt (Bill) Hammond (1870–1947)

by John Dean

This article was published:

William Pitt (Bill) Hammond (1870-1947) miner, Labor party worker and community activist

Birth: 7 December 1870 at Hobart, Tasmania, son of William Simmons Hammond (1852-1922), accountant and partner in shipping & customs firm Huybers & Hammond, and Mary Jane, née Pitt (1844-1922), daughter of Hobart Harbour master, Francis Pitt (1793-1874), who arrived in Tasmania with David Collins to establish the first settlement in 1804. Marriage: 10 February 1895 at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Bungendore, to Katherine (Kate) Goggin (1870-1948). They had one daughter and six sons. Death: 7 February 1947 at Canberra Community Hospital. Religion: Anglican. 

  • Bill came from a prominent Tasmanian family. He was educated at Old Hobart High School. Moved to the mainland in 1890 to booming mining town of Captain’s Flat, near Queanbeyan, New South Wales. He worked as a miner.
  • To Western Australia with future brothers-in-law Jack Goggin & Denis Hartigan, in March 1894. Gold prospector. Returned to Captain’s Flat and took a leading part in civic, social and sporting activities.
  • Foundation member of Captain’s Flat School of Art, secretary of the Progress Committee, warden’s clerk and mining registrar officer, Captain’s Flat from 1898 to 1901.
  • Engaged in real-estate and cordial manufacturing.
  • Moved his family to Cobargo in 1901 when mining ceased at Captain’s Flat. Hotelkeeper, Post Office Hotel, Cobargo, from 1901 to 1921.
  • Took leading part in civic matters; chairman of park trust; committee member, School of Arts and Horticultural Society. In 1902 initiated founding of the Cobargo branch of the Australian Labor Party and was president from 1902 to 1921. First president, Eden/Monaro State Electorate Council. On leaving Cobargo it was said of the Hammonds: “no one of want ever passed their door without securing relief.”
  • Arrived in Canberra 1922 and housed with family in Molonglo tenements. Was payroll clerk, public works department. Founding member of Molonglo Progress Association, February 1922.
  • Founding member of Canberra ALP 7 December 1924, held official positions. Moved to suburb of Westridge then Kingston and finally Ainslie.
  • Stood for election to ACT Advisory Council in 1930 while vice president of Canberra ALP and was one of three endorsed Labor candidates (unsuccessful but received highest Labor vote).
  • Appointed by Minister for Interior, Arthur Blakely, to special Disputes Committee, together with J. Blumenthal and A. E. Gardiner. Member of local executive of Australian Workers Union. Advocated establishment of a District Labor Council which resulted in the formation of the Canberra Trades & Labor Council on 16 April 1931.
  • Retired in 1940 although during WWII was employed as a reader at the Government Printing Office. Died at the Canberra Community Hospital in 1947.
  • Obituary in Canberra Times states: “The death of William Pitt Hammond has removed one of the pioneers of the labour movement in Canberra.” In the same article Blumenthal, Secretary of ACT Trades & Labor Council, commented, “He was one of the staunch men of the industrial movement in Canberra and fought tirelessly for better conditions for workers.”
  • Bill’s son William Patrick (Pat) Hammond (1897-1963) was a foundation member of the Canberra TLC, assistant secretary 1939-1956 and compensation officer 1946-1956; he was acting secretary of the TLC during WWII in the absence of S. Blumenthal who enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. He was also secretary of local committee of Australian Workers’ Union. Arrived in Canberra in 1925 and began work with the Department of Works. Served in France with 2nd Battalion in WWI.
  • Bill’s uncle Albert Pitt, migrated to the south island of New Zealand in the 1860s, was elected to Legislative Council of New Zealand and appointed leader of the House. At various time he held the positions of Attorney-General, Minister for Defence & Colonial Secretary.

Sources
Canberra Times,
11 February 1947, p 2.

Citation details

John Dean, 'Hammond, William Pitt (Bill) (1870–1947)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/hammond-william-pitt-bill-33860/text42414, accessed 20 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Bill Hammond, 1930

Bill Hammond, 1930

Daily Pictorial (Sydney), 12 April 1930, p 12

Life Summary [details]

Birth

7 December, 1870
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Death

7 February, 1947 (aged 76)
Acton, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Cause of Death

unknown

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.

Education
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