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Henry Joseph (Harry) Henkel (1864–1947)

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Henry Joseph (Harry) Henkel (1864-1947) compositor and newspaper manager 

Birth: 12 February 1864 at East Ballarat, Victoria, son of Henry [Heinrich Christoph] Henkel (1838-1922), a cook born in Zwinge, Eichsfeld, Thuringia, Germany, and Johannette Wilhelmine, née Schafer (1843-1883), born in London, England. Marriage: 1887 in Victoria to native-born Henrietta Chittenden (1871-1939).  They had two daughters and two sons. Death: 17 November 1947 in his home at West Preston, Melbourne. 

  • Worked as a compositor on the Coolgardie Miner, on Western Australian goldfields in the 1890s. Claimed to be the holder of the first membership card issued by the Coolgardie Typographical Union in 1894. Recalled working with socialist goldfields editor ‘Blood or Bread’ Vosper.
  • Back in Melbourne, he worked on the Labor journal Tocsin, helping it through its financial troubles.
  • Early in his career he was a member of the Typographical Society and later of the the Printing Industry Employees’ Union until his death.
  • Member of the Australian Labor Party. Marched regularly in the Labor Day procession, reputedly for the 51st time in 1939.
  • In 1908 had replaced George Leslie as manager of the Labor Call, previously the Printing and Publishing Co-operative Society Ltd. Was fined in 1916 for failing to have his name and address printed upon the pamphlet ‘Australian Trade Unionism and Conscription’.
  • The policies of Labor Call attracted guards of armed soldiers to his office during debates about conscription in World War I, for reasons such as enforcing the prohibition of certain material.
  • Retired in February 1940.

Labor Call
(Melbourne), 20 November 1947, p 8.

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Citation details

'Henkel, Henry Joseph (Harry) (1864–1947)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


12 February, 1864
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia


17 November, 1947 (aged 83)
Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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