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Arthur Alexander Jones (1879–1954)

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Arthur Alexander Jones (1879-1954) clerk and trade union official

Birth: 27 June 1879 at Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, son of Robert Lusher Jones (1850-1926), a labourer later storekeeper, born in Dublin, Ireland, and Elizabeth Helen, née Dove (1849-1905), born at Arrochar, Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Marriage: 16 May 1899 at Mudgee, New South Wales, to Louisa Katherine Meers (1876-1960). They had at least two daughters and five sons. Death: 20 September 1954 in hospital at Lidcombe, NSW; usual residence, Short Street, Springwood. Religion: Baptist. 

  • Educated in Mudgee. While working as a clerk in a Sydney warehouse which overworked its employees, he gave evidence before the Arbitration Court and was sacked. Became founding member and secretary of the United Clerks’ Union of NSW formed in December 1907. Boycotted by employers and in financial difficulty, he resigned as secretary in November and was replaced by Harold Mercer, but remained a member of the union. Became leader of the Civil Service Temporary Clerk’s section.
  • Delegate to NSW Labor Council for three years. Committee member, Shop Assistants’ Union.
  • In 1912 was a member of the Bellevue Labor League (Canterbury), secretary of the Pharmacists’ Early Closing Association and secretary of the Canterbury Labor Council. Contested State seat of Dulwich Hill for the Australian Labor Party in December 1913. Appointed Justice of the Peace on 15 March 1915.
  • Three of his brothers had served in the South African War; the younger, Hugh Trevor Jones (1875-1901), died of enteric fever in South Africa. The elder, Colin Hector Jones (1873-1926), was wounded at Diamond Hills, entered the Cape Mounted Police, joined the South African Expedition under General Botha and fought in German West Africa. A third brother Harold John Jones (1883-1933), a labourer, having also fought with the 3rd NSW Bushmen’s Regiment through the Boer War and come out “unscathed”, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force, as did a fourth brother Donald Jones (1877-1917), compositor; both were wounded while serving at Gallipoli. Harold also served in France where he was again wounded in action. Donald was diagnosed with epilepsy and invalided home to Sydney, arriving in June 1916. After some months in Callan Park hospital, he committed suicide in Sydney on 14 May 1917, survived by a son and a pregnant wife who gave birth to their daughter in December.
  • Arthur, a senior cadet, and lieutenant in the Citizens’ Defence Forces, made four attempts to enlist in World War I but was rejected due to poor eyesight. He then joined a rifle club and obtained a certificate of marksmanship.
  • With this evidence of adequate eye-sight, he finally enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 23 March 1916. Serving with 56th Battalion, Sergeant Jones was “gassed and buried” at Polygon Wood. Returning to duty, he was severely wounded in action at Villers-Brettonneaux on 24 April 1918. He returned to Australia in March 1919 and was discharged on 13 April that year.
  • In September 1919 he was appointed clerk on probation in the Department of Taxation in the NSW Public Service. He joined the Australian Clerical Association and was its delegate to the Public Service Confederation. He was selected Labor candidate for the Federal House of Representatives seat of Parkes in 1919.
  • In May 1925 he stood as a Protestant Independent Labor candidate for the seat of St George.
  • Retired from the public service on 30 August 1935, and moved to Springwood in the Blue Mountains, NSW.
  • Cause of death: cerebral arteriosclerosis (3 years) and rheumatoid arthritis (1 year).

(Sydney), 7 October 1912, p 17; Worker (Wagga Wagga), 20 November 1913, p 3; Australian Worker (Sydney), 20 November 1919, p 15; Labor News, 13 December 1919, p 10.

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'Jones, Arthur Alexander (1879–1954)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


27 June, 1879
Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia


20 September, 1954 (aged 75)
Springwood, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cerebral atherosclerosis

Cultural Heritage

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