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John Francis Hunter (c. 1840–1889)

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John Francis Hunter (c.1840-1889) miner and trade union leader 

Birth: c.1840, Douglas, Isle of Man, son of James Hunter, commercial traveller, later farmer, and Margaret, née Kenefick (or Heckette). Marriage: (1) 13 August 1867 at Reefs, Pleasant Creek (Stawell), Victoria, to Adelaide-born Ellen Wade, aged 17 (d. 28 November 1886) (2) 1 August 1887 at St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Stawell, Victoria, to Mary Anne Agnes Rea (1866-1931), butcher’s daughter. Death: 27 November 1889 at Stawell, Victoria.

  • Emigrated to Melbourne 1856. Stockman in Gippsland then prospector.
  • Became a miner in Stawell. President, Stawell Miners’ Association (SMA) 1872-1881 and a leading figure in the miners’ strike February to March 1873, resulting in mine owners recognising the eight hours system. Later was secretary of the SMA.
  • President of Amalgamated Miners’ Association of Australasia for two terms from 1885.
  • Member of Ararat Mining Board 1873. Member of Stawell Borough Council 1876-1889. Mayor of Stawell in 1880-1881.
  • AMA representative at Trade Union Congress, Melbourne, 1884.
  • Retired as miner after accident 1875.
  • Bought Bull & Mouth Hotel, Stawell.
  • Member Morning Star Lodge of Stawell, United Grand Lodge of England.
  • Cause of death “cirrhosis of lungs” suffered for some years.
  • After her husband’s death Mrs Hunter conducted the hotel for many years.

H. J. Gibbney & A. G. Smith, A Biographical Register 1788-1939, vol 1 (Canberra, 1987).

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Citation details

'Hunter, John Francis (c. 1840–1889)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


c. 1840
Douglas, Isle of Man, England


27 November, 1889 (aged ~ 49)
Stawell, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

lung disease

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