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Arthur (Art) Lewis (1882–1975)

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Arthur (Art) Lewis (1882-1975) clerk, carter, trade union official and politician 

Birth: 22 April 1882 at Emerald Hill (later South Melbourne), Victoria, son of native-born parents George Frederick Lewis (1858-1888), wharf manager, and Mary Alma Lush (1855-1942). Marriage: 30 December 1916 at St James old Anglican cathedral, West Melbourne, to native-born Grace Eleanor Ruth Blamire (1879-1965). They had one son. Death: 11 April 1975 at Templestowe, Victoria. 

  • Had little education. After his father’s death he lived in St Vincent de Paul orphanage, South Melbourne, from 1888.
  • ‘Bonded’ by a farmer near Mansfield in 1894. Worked as a rouseabout, then in the service of wealthy farmers.
  • Bought share in uncle’s carting business in 1905. Joined Carters & Drivers Union, about 1907.
  • Elected full-time organiser of Carters and Drivers Union in 1912. Later was union secretary for many years. Represented union on Trades Hall Council.
  • President of the Amalgamated Road Transport Workers’ Union about 1929.
  • Joined Australian Labor Party, Toorak branch in 1903. Later president of Toorak branch. About 1913 was a member of Bulleen branch.
  • Elected Labor member of Federal House of Representatives for Corio on 12 October 1929. Defeated by R. G. Casey on 19 December 1931. Supporter of prohibition of alcohol.
  • Contested seat of Nunawading, Victorian Legislative Assembly in March 1935 and October 1937 and Balaclava in the Federal by-election in July 1951.
  • Member, League of Nations Union. Minutes secretary of the World Disarmament Movement. Member Australian Natives’ Association, North Melbourne branch, and won the ‘A’ Grade individual debate in 1921 and as leader of the ‘A’ Grade team it won the team debate tournament for three years in succession.
  • After parliament in 1931 worked for Queensland Prohibition League.
  • Returned to Melbourne, became a clerk in the Victorian Transport Department. Retired 1947. Employed by Lincoln Mills Textile Factory.
  • Cause of death: cardiac failure, hypertension, atherosclerosis and carcinoma of the prostate gland.

Joan Rydon (ed), A biographical register of the Commonwealth Parliament 1901-1972 (ANU Press, 1975); Merrifield Card Index; Australian Worker, 4 June 1924 p 1, 8 December 1926 p 1; Labor Call, 26 September 1929, p 10; Recorder, June 1975 p 2.

Additional Resources

  • profile, Labor Call (Melbourne), 29 May 1924, p 8
  • profile, Labor Call (Melbourne), 26 September 1929, p 10

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Citation details

'Lewis, Arthur (Art) (1882–1975)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012