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Charles Harris (1857–1909)

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Charles Harris (1857-1909) saddler and trade union leader 

Birth: 1857 Adelaide, South Australia, son of Samuel Harris (1826-1899), a prominent builder and undertaker, and Hannah Maria, née Worrell (1825-1917). Marriage: 1883 in North Melbourne, Victoria to Katherine Theresa Wills. They had three daughters and three sons. Death: 19 August 1909 at his residence in South Yarra. Religion: Anglican. 

  • Trained as a saddler in South Australia. Moved to Melbourne about 1882 and joined the Victorian Saddlers’ Society. In following years he filled every official position in the society. Still secretary in 1903. In 1883 was appointed saddlers delegate to the Trades Hall Council and the Eight Hours Anniversary committee.
  • Secretary of the Eight-Hours’ Anniversary Committee 1891-1906 and treasurer 1890. The Worker reported in 1906 that he had “a Napoleonic grasp of everything connected with the movement”.
  • Took the post of secretary to the Vaudeville Artists’ Society in 1906.
  • Member of the Council of the Anti-Sweating League. Vice President of the Association for the Promotion of Technical Education.
  • Vice-President of Trades’ Hall Council in 1899. President of the Trades’ Hall Council, 1900. Ballarat Trades and Labor Council delegate on Melbourne Trades’ Hall Council; retired as member of Trades Hall Council c.1908 in which he had participated for about 25 years.
  • Stood as Labor candidate for the seat of South Yarra in the Legislative Assembly in 1900, being beaten by only nineteen votes, and 1902.
  • Died of lymphosarcoma after a long and painful illness.

(Melbourne), 21 April 1898, p 8 [] and 20 April 1899, p 4 [] & p 5 []; W. E Murphy, History of the Eight Hour Movement, Spectator Publicity Co. Ltd., Vol. 1 (Melbourne, 1896), and Vol. II (Melbourne, 1900); Worker (Wagga), 10 May 1906, p 2; Labor Call (Melbourne), 21 November 1907, p. 8, 6 February 1908, 19 March 1908, photo and tribute, 26 August 1909, p 3 []; GTS

Additional Resources

  • profile, Weekly Times (Melbourne), 25 June 1898, p 13
  • profile, Tocsin (Melbourne), 21 April 1898, p 8
  • profile, Tocsin (Melbourne), 23 April 1903, p 11

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Harris, Charles (1857–1909)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Charles Harris, 1899

Charles Harris, 1899

Tocsin (Melbourne), 20 April 1899, p 5

Life Summary [details]


Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


19 August, 1909 (aged ~ 52)
South Yarra, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (lymphoma)

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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