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.

Alfred Ernest John (1865–1928)

This article was published:

Alfred Ernest John, also known as Johns (1864-1928) seaman, clerk and trade union official

Birth: 1865 at Cardiff, South Wales, United Kingdom, son of William John (b.1839), tailor, and Elizabeth, née White (b.1838). Marriage: 23 June 1888 at St Bethlehem Church, Ashfield, Sydney, New South Wales, to native-born Margaret Ann Zahra (1867-1944). They had four daughters and a son. Death: 26 June 1928 at Leichhardt, Sydney, NSW. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Errand boy and telegraph messenger. Joined the barque Sumatra as an apprentice, from 1878 to about 1883. After sailing to various ports in the world, deserted the ship in Newcastle, NSW. Joined the barque Conference and sailed again as an AB for two years. Joined the barque Italy about 1883.
  • When in Sydney decided to give up the sea and entered timber trade, worked as a labourer, orderman and yard foreman from about 1883 to 1901.
  • Foundation member and secretary of the Federated Sawmill and Timber Yard Employees’ Association, NSW branch, from its inception in 1901.
  • Assisted with representing employees in the Arbitration Court and other Boards so as to save costs of legal assistance.
  • Delegate to Sydney Labor Council. Delegate and member of executive of the Trades Hall Association. Sometime secretary of Leichhardt branch of the Political and Labor League (PLL).
  • Union delegate to PLL Conference in 1902 and elected member. Delegate on Eight Hour Committee and representative at demonstrations held in Newcastle and Dubbo.
  • Delegate at conference of wood workers and timber yard employees of Australia in Adelaide in 1906. Representatives from NSW, Victoria and South Australia discussed going as a body before the Federal Arbitration Court to make recommendations about wages, hours and conditions which govern the industry in the States represented.
  • Appointed justice of the peace by 1911.

, 10 May 1906, p 2; Co-operator Eight-Hour Souvenir, 7 October 1912 p 11.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'John, Alfred Ernest (1865–1928)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 1 March 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Johns, Alfred Ernest

Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales


26 June, 1928 (aged ~ 63)
Leichhardt, 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