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Arthur Levetus (1877–1916)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Arthur Levetus (1877-1916),  journalist, trade union official and newspaper manager

Birth: 22 January 1877 at Montreal, Canada, son of English-born parents, Edward Edverd Moses Levitus (1850-1895), a merchant, born at Birmingham, Warwickshire, and Sarah Isabel, née Himes (1852-1906). Marriage: 25 March 1913 at St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Fremantle, Western Australia, to Winifred McCafferty. Death: 29 July 1916 at Pozieres, France. Religion: Jewish heredity, "Church of England" in some military service records.

  • His paternal grandfather, Lewis, was born in Moldova, Romania.
  • Arthur’s parents had married at Montreal, and they returned England, after the birth of four children, about 1881. In 1891 they were living at Edgbaston, Warwickshire, and his father was a manufacturer.
  • Arthur reputedly “had a public school and university education in England”. One report suggested that he claimed to have been at Christ Church college, Oxford.
  • He lived in Europe, Asia and India, where he was a merchant, served for five years (1905-1910) in the Calcutta Light Horse, and was on the journalistic staff of the Statesman as a sports writer. He once owned racehorses and was well-known as an amateur rider in India. Also travelled to Egypt, Burma, China and Japan. Had “a passion for the study of political economy”.
  • Arrived in Melbourne on a visit to Australia aboard the RMS Omrah in April 1910, spent time in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. After returning to India, where he was injured riding in a hurdle race at the Tollygunge gymkhana races in June 1910, he came back to Australia to settle in August. By May 1911 he had moved to Western Australia.
  • Worked as a clerk with the Swan Meat Butchering Company and was instrumental in forming the Clerical Workers’ Union in Kalgoorlie, of which he became secretary and organiser. Delegate to the Australian Labor Federation. Also sometime secretary of the Eastern Goldfields Dairy Employees’, the Brewery Employees’ and the Shop Assistant’s unions.
  • Honorary secretary of the Esperance Land and Railway League from August 1911. Member of the Loyal Kalgoorlie Lodge of the Manchester Unity Odd Fellows and of the Kalgoorlie branch of the Australian Natives’ Association. In November that year, described as “an insurance agent” he was defeated as the endorsed ALF candidate for an extraordinary vacancy in the Kalgoorlie Municipal Council.
  • Became goldfields correspondent for Westralian Worker, then became the paper’s manager in Boulder and moved to Perth. Was also a contributor under the penname ‘Gossip’. Member of the Australian Journalists’ Association, West Australian District.
  • Promoted the Young Australia League on the goldfields and conducted swimming classes for children in association with it
  • Closely associated with the Citizen Military Forces, he was commissioned on 1 May 1914 as a provisional lieutenant in the Senior Cadet Corps and was seconded on 21 February 1915 as temporary area officer of Training Area 88E, North Perth. Having qualified, he was granted the substantive rank in the CMF in August. On 25 October he was appointed as a lieutenant in the Australian Imperial Force, beginning full-time duty on 1 November. He served with the 28th Battalion in France from 23 April 1916 and was killed in action (by a bullet wound in the head) on 29 July 1916 in the attack on Pozières Ridge. His body was not recovered. For gallant conduct and able leadership in the attack, he was recommended to be posthumously mentioned in despatches, but the award was not made. 

H. J. Gibbney and Ann G, Smith (eds), A Biographical Register 1788-1939, vol 2 (Canberra, 1987; Australasian Journalist, 25 September 1916.

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Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Levetus, Arthur (1877–1916)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


22 January, 1877
Montreal, Quebec, Canada


29 July, 1916 (aged 39)
Pozieres, France

Cause of Death

killed in action

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.

Military Service
Key Organisations
Political Activism