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William James Mahon (c. 1909–1967)

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William ('Bill') Mahon (1909?-1967) coal miner and trade unionist

Birth: 1909, Yackandandah, Victoria. Son of Mark Andrew Mahon and Florrie May nee Lane. Marriage: 1927 to Thelma Rose Sault at Kurri Kurri, NSW. They had three children. Death: 7 December 1967, Kogarah, NSW.

  • Began work as miner at Pelaw Main, South Maitland, NSW aged 14.
  • Joined Miners’ Federation in Present at Rothbury demonstration 1929, witnessing police shootings. Prominent activist in area committees in area committees in Kurri district in First and Second Rounds.
  • Officer, Pelaw Main lodge Secretary Pelaw Main lodge 1944; vice-president of Miners' Federation's Northern District for six years, from 1953 to 1958.
  • Elected general secretary Miners' Federation 1958, taking office February 1959; subsequently re-elected unopposed in four elections and held position for nine years; of quiet, even aloof, disposition; left effectual leadership to William Parkinson, but a conscientious administrator and outspoken on occasions; secretary Combined Mining Unions Council; died in office.
  • Member NSW Australian Labor Party executive to 1967, where he consistently supported the Left.
  • Represented Miners’ Federation on NSW Labor Council and ACTU congresses; also prominent in peace movement.
  • Leader of Miners’ delegation to Australian Congress for Peace, Melbourne 1959; Represented Miners’ Federation at international miners’ congress in Moscow in 1964 and visited mines in Soviet Union and England.
  • Cause of death: cardiac arrest (1 hour) and myocardial infarction (4 hours).

Edgar Ross, A History of the Miners' Federation of Australia (Sydney, 1970); Tribune, 13 Dec. 1967 p.12; Common Cause, 16 Dec. 1967; SeamensJournal, date?; ARU, 33rd Meeting of Australian Council April/ May 1968

Additional Resources

  • photo, Tribune (Sydney), 10 June 1964, p 6
  • photo, Tribune (Sydney), 14 July 1965, p 10

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Mahon, William James (c. 1909–1967)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


c. 1909
Yackandandah, Victoria, Australia


7 December, 1967 (aged ~ 58)
Kogarah, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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 Events
Key Organisations
Political Activism