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Claude William Harding (1899–1986)

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Claude William Harding (1899-1986) carpenter, railway employee and trade union official

Birth: 4 June 1899 at Mannerim, Victoria, son of native-born parents Albert Harding (1860-1945), a farmer of English heritage, and Sarah Jane, née Allison (1861-1944). Marriages: (1) 1919 at Williamstown, Victoria, to Flora Christine McInnes (1897-1975). They had one daughter and one son. The marriage ended in divorce in 1950. (2) 17 March 1951 in the Baptist Church, Balwyn, Victoria, to Catherine Petrie Campbell (1909-1984), a textile worker, born at Glasgow, Scotland. Death: 16 January 1986 at Wycheproof, Victoria. Religion: Baptist. 

  • Educated at Geelong High School. Apprenticed as a car and wagon builder in 1914, and studied at the Workingmen’s College.
  • Founding member of Amalgamated Car Builders section of the Australian Railways Union (ARU); member of the shop committee, ARU, Newport. Secretary of the Central Council railway shop committee; secretary, State branch councillor, State executive member and annual conference delegate, Car Builders Section of the ARU Rolling Stock Division.
  • Officers’ and employees’ representative on the Railway Classification Board from 1942 to 1947, agitating for better wages and conditions for railway workers including payment for public holidays, additional annual leave, time-and-a-half for Sunday work, meal allowances and penalty rates for night and shift work.
  • Editor, Shop Committee News. Appointed by union in 1943 to its special committee, formed to plan the post-war program including a 40-hour work week.
  • Victorian State vice-president, ARU, then Victorian State president from 1951 to 1952 and helped establish a block booking scheme which allowed employees to travel interstate on their annual leave at Christmas and Easter about 1950.
  • His son Donald William Harding (1921-1950) a deck hand, died from injuries received in a disaster at Williamstown in November 1950.
  • Retired to Doveton about 1964; moved to Newport and then, when his wife died, to Wycheproof to be near his daughter.
  • Cause of death: cardiorespiratory arrest, cardiovascular accident, atheroma and renal failure.

ARU Gazette
May 1986 p27; Railways Union Gazette, August 1964, 10 November,1941, 10 September1941, 10 June 1939.

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Citation details

'Harding, Claude William (1899–1986)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Calude Harding, 1941

Calude Harding, 1941

Age (Melbourne), 22 October 1941, p 8

Life Summary [details]


4 June, 1899
Geelong, Victoria, Australia


16 January, 1986 (aged 86)
Wycheproof, 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.

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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