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George Henderson (1857–1933)

This article was published:

George Henderson, by T. Humphrey & Co, 1908

George Henderson, by T. Humphrey & Co, 1908

National Library of Australia, 23366345

Henderson, George (1857-1933) coal miner, trade union official and Australian Senator 

Birth: 19 August 1857 at Bedlington, Northumberland, England, son of George Henderson (1830-1908), an agricultural labourer, reputedly of Rothesay, Scotland, and Jane, née Short (b.1839). Marriage: 10 January 1885 at Holy Cross Church, Ryton, County Durham, to Annie Veitch (1863-1912). They had one son and two daughters, one of whom died in infancy. Death: 21 January 1933 at Willoughby, NSW. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • Educated at a primary school at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England. Was a pony-boy in a Northumberland coal mine in 1869-1870. Continued available educational opportunities with the Miners’ Hall. Worked as a miner in the Newcastle district until he migrated to Australia with his wife, arriving in October 1885.
  • George (as he was known) was a coalminer at Illawarra NSW. Secretary Illawarra Colliery Employees' Association from 1891 to 1899, succeeding John B. Nicholson, whose conciliatory approach he rejected: “It is impossible to do good for one class without injuring another”.
  • Led unsuccessful strike against rate reduction in 1893. Was a lay preacher and ardent advocate of Rochdale co-operative system. Moved to Western Australia about 1900.
  • Gained mining work in Collie, which eventually led to becoming manager, Wallsend Coal Mine. By 1903 was full-time general secretary of the Collie River Miners’ Association.
  • Founding member of the Progress Committee, Collie. Member Collie Municipal Council 1902-1904. Appointed justice of the peace in 1910.
  • Elected to Australian Senate on 9 October 1904. Chairman of committees 1914-1917. Member of the Australian Labor Party until 1916, then, supporting conscription, became a Nationalist. Was defeated in the general election on 16 December 1922 and left the Senate on 30 June 1923.
  • Subsequently worked as an estate agent and farmer.

Sources
Joan Rydon (ed), Biographical Register, 1975; E. Ross, 1970; J. S. Battye, Cyclopedia of Western Australia, Vol. 1, 1912; Bobbie Oliver, ‘Christopher George Henderson’, in Biographical register of the Australian Senate: https://biography.senate.gov.au/christopher-george-henderson/

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Citation details

'Henderson, George (1857–1933)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/henderson-george-33985/text42597, accessed 28 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

George Henderson, by T. Humphrey & Co, 1908

George Henderson, by T. Humphrey & Co, 1908

National Library of Australia, 23366345

Life Summary [details]

Birth

19 August, 1857
Bedlington, Northumberland, England

Death

21 January, 1933 (aged 75)
Willoughby, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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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