People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Benjamin (Ben) Howe (1892–1950)

This article was published:

Benjamin Howe, n.d.

Benjamin Howe, n.d.

Howe, Benjamin (Ben) (1892-1950)  fitter, trade union official and parliamentarian 

Birth: 21 March 1892 at Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, son of Irish-born parents Benjamin Howe (1837-1999), real estate agent, formerly water police constable, born in Kinsale, Ireland, and Isabella, née Sullivan (1851-1929), probably from Athlone, Westmeath. Marriage: 26 August 1915 to native-born Alma Thew (1895-1960), a clerk. They had two daughters. Death: 14 February 1950 at Crows Nest, Sydney, New South Wales. Religion: Anglican. 

  • His father committed suicide when young Ben was aged 6.
  • Apprenticed in engineering at Mort’s Dock Engineering Co. Fitter and turner in tramway workshops, Randwick, from 1921 to 1930 and from 1938 to 1950.
  • Member, Amalgamated Engineering Union. Shop delegate, organiser and representative of Tramways section.
  • Joined Australian Labor Party in 1915; was president of St Leonards (North Sydney) branch.
  • Contested State seat of North Sydney in 1927 and 1935. Stood for the Federal seat of North Sydney against former prime minister Billy Hughes in 1928.
  • Elected member of the NSW Legislative Assembly for the North Sydney on 25 October 1930. Defeated in elections on 11 June 1932.
  • Ran soup kitchen with wife, who was an active supporter of Labor, in North Sydney during Depression.
  • Champion swimmer.

Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt & Elizabeth Hinton (eds), Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979).

Additional Resources

  • profile, Labor Daily (Sydney), 21 August 1928, p 4

Citation details

'Howe, Benjamin (Ben) (1892–1950)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Benjamin Howe, n.d.

Benjamin Howe, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


21 March, 1892
Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


14 February, 1950 (aged 57)
Crows Nest, 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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism