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Patrick Hodgens (Pat) Hickey (1882–1930)

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Patrick Hickey, n.d.

Patrick Hickey, n.d.

Patrick Hodgens (Pat) Hickey (1882-1930) coalminer, trade union leader 

Birth: 19 January 1882 at Nelson, New Zealand, son of Irish Catholic parents, Thomas Hickey (1838-1890), farmer, and Mary Jane, née Hodgens (1853-1921). Marriage: 5 July 1911 at Greymouth, Westland, New Zealand, to Rosanna Gertrude (Rose) Rogers (1890-1962), a school teacher. They had one son. Death: 25 January 1930 in Melbourne, Victoria. 

  • After his father’s death the family moved to Foxhill and Pat attended Stanley Brook and Foxhill primary schools. Left school at 14 and the country in March 1900.
  • Worked in Colorado mines, United States of America. Joined Western Federation of Miners in US, 1905 where he was associated with Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) leader "Big Bill" Haywood and socialist publicist E. V. Debs.
  • Back in New Zealand by 1907, he was a member of the Blackball Miners’ Union during the 1908 strike and was founding secretary of the Miners' Federation of New Zealand. General Secretary, United Federation of Labour (UFL). Founding member and president of New Zealand Federation of Labour.
  • Visited Australia in 1909, holding discussions with NSW Colliery Employees' Federation officials on trans-Tasman solidarity in the event of any future dispute with employers.
  • Gaoled over industrial action preceding 1912 New Zealand Waihi miners' strike. During strike returned to Australia for several months on fund-raising mission, touring all States and addressing many meetings. Magnetic personality and outstanding writer and speaker. Active in Australia during First World War and immediately after. Secretary of the UFL in 1913 and secretary of committee which organised July 1913 congress that established the Social Democratic Party.
  • Moved to Australia in 1915. Member of Victorian Socialist Party 1916-19. Member Clerks’ Union and then Victorian Railways Union. VRU organiser 1917-19, later occupying similar position in Queensland. Editor of ‘The Militant’, the Queensland Railway Union newspaper.
  • Member Political Labor Council Executive from 1917. Vice-president Victorian branch of Australian Labor Party 1918. Editor of One Big Union’s official organ, B.U., in 1919-20. Active opponent of conscription in Australia.
  • Returned to New Zealand in 1920. Editor and sometimes sub-editor, Maori Land Worker from 1920. Led unsuccessful campaign for establishment of a daily labour newspaper. President of Auckland Rationalist Association in 1924. Published a pamphlet ‘Red Fed. Memoirs’ in 1925. Executive member New Zealand Labor Party.
  • Returned to Melbourne with family in January 1926. Managed a hotel between Melbourne and Adelaide. President of ALP Melbourne branch. Selected for the safe labour seat of Dandenong but had to be replaced due to ill health.

Australian Worker
(Sydney), 17 April 1919 p 10; Labor Call (Melbourne), 30 January 1930, 13 February 1930; Common Cause, 11 Feb. 1967 p.2; Edgar Ross, A history of the Miners' Federation of Australia ([Sydney], 1970; Recorder no.81, April 1976; Barry Gustafson, Labour’s Path to Political Independence’ the origins and establishment of the New Zealand Labour Party (Auckland, 1980) p 157; information from E. Ross, 1990; Dawn to Dusk, pp 126-129.

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Citation details

'Hickey, Patrick Hodgens (Pat) (1882–1930)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 29 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Patrick Hickey, n.d.

Patrick Hickey, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


19 January, 1882
Nelson, New Zealand


25 January, 1930 (aged 48)
Melbourne, Victoria, 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.

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