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Peter Stuart Hastie (c. 1864–1900)

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Peter Stuart (or Stewart) Hastie (c.1864-1900) shearer, gaoled trade unionist 

Birth: 1864 in South Australia [or possibly on 17 December 1859 in Linlithgow, Scotland, son of Robert Hastie, leather cutter, and Christina, née Stewart.]. Marriage: unknown. Death: 24 May 1900 in St Vincent’s hospital in Sydney aged 36. 

  • May have been the Peter S. Hastie who arrived in Melbourne with his parents and siblings aboard the Star of India on 4 June 1871.
  • Active in Queensland Shearers’ Union. Member Barcaldine Strike Committee 1891. In Mid-March 1891 led party of 80 mounted unionists from Blackall to enforce strike action in upper Warrego district, but was stripped of leadership to avoid his victimisation by police (the party allegedly set fire to woolshed on Lorne station and started grass fires). Arrested at Augathella on 30 March. With other men he was accused of arson, inciting to riot and conspiracy. In May a letter from him and ten other detainees protesting their ill-treatment at gaol in Blackall was widely publicised.
  • At Blackall on 15 May 1891 he was sentenced to three months imprisonment for intimidating a hired servant at Ravensbourne and was committed to be tried in Rockhampton in September on a charge of burning Lorne woolshed. No true bill was filed and he was released by 15 September after more than six months in custody without trial.
  • Press reports in July 1894 indicated that Hastie, by now working as a hawker, was in the strike camp at Marathon.
  • On the outbreak of the Boer War Hastie enthusiastically enlisted in the Queensland Imperial Bushmen regiment and sailed from Brisbane aboard the Manchester Port on 2 May 1900 for South Africa via Sydney.
  • Falling ill with lobar pneumonia aboard ship, he was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. He was buried in Rookwood cemetery with full military honours.

Stuart Svensen, The shearers’ war; the story of the 1891 Shearer’s Strike (Brisbane, 1989).

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'Hastie, Peter Stuart (c. 1864–1900)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012