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Joseph John Lyons (1873–1949)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Joseph John Abeem (Joe) Lyons (1873-1949) miner, gaoled trade unionist, plasterer, municipal councillor, builder 

Birth: 29 May 1873 at East Mash (?), Cyprus, son of Lawoon Helou and Ammon Alehelo. Marriage: 23 September 1904 at the Methodist manse, Broken Hill, New South Wales, to South-Australian-born Elizabeth Green (1878-1946). They had three daughters and one son. Death: 12 May 1949 in the Hutchinson hospital, Gawler, South Australia. Religion: Methodist then Catholic. 

  • By 1889 was in Broken Hill where, on 7 November, he joined the Amalgamated Miners’ Association (AMA). Spent about three years in Western Australia.
  • In 1900 was employed at the Proprietary mine in Broken Hill. Was prominent in the Political Labor League. In 1907 was a trustee and steward of the AMA and treasurer of the Star of the South lodge of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows.
  • During the lockout in January 1909 he was working at Broken Hill and was on duty on the picket lines.
  • On 18 March, at Broken Hill police court he was sentenced to six months imprisonment on a charge of assaulting a mine official on 4 January. He appealed and was released on bail but was arrested the following day and with William Rosser was charged with maliciously destroying a railway line. His appeal in the assault case was rejected and for this offence Judge Ernest Docker sentenced him to six months imprisonment with hard labour.
  • He was then transferred in custody to Albury for trial with Rosser on the malicious damage charge. They were acquitted but Judge Robert Pring ruled that he serve his sentence for the assault in Albury gaol.
  • According to his gaol entrance record, Lyons had a medium build, very dark complexion, was 5 feet 9½ inches (176.5 cm) tall, his black hair was going grey, and he had brown eyes. He could read and write, had a scar on his right jaw and the side of his neck, and a figure of a woman on his left forearm and a woman's head on his left knee.
  • After a petition, his sentence was reduced and he was released in late July 1909. He returned to Broken Hill and was offered “a place in the woodyard” but, in bad health, he left town in November and was voted £10 by the AMA.
  • He moved to South Australia, and was first employed as a platelayer on the railway at Mile-End.
  • By the 1930s he lived at Gawler, where he was active in the local branch of the Australian Labor Party. He was a municipal councillor in 1933 and 1934, and from 1939 to 1943.

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Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Lyons, Joseph John (1873–1949)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 30 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


29 May, 1873


12 May, 1949 (aged 75)
Gawler, South Australia, Australia

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.

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