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William James (Billie) McAdam (1882–1967)

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William James (Billie) McAdam (1882-1967) bread carter, trade union official and parliamentarian

Birth: 7 January 1882 at Emerald Hill, South Melbourne, Victoria son of Alexander James McAdam (1882-1967), blacksmith and miner, and Mary Ann Vigar (1854-1924); Marriage: 2 February 1905 at Ballarat, Victoria, to Sarah Robin (1883-1966). They had four daughters. Death: 28 June 1967 at Ballarat; usual residence Pleasant Street. 

  • Educated at Macarthur and Dana Street state schools. Became a bread carter. Organised Bread Carters' Union in 1904; secretary to 1924.
  • Organised Ballarat Municipal Employees, Shop Assistants and Textile Workers' unions in Consolidated Textile Workers into federal body, General Textile Workers' Federation, Melbourne 1917, federal secretary 1917-24, in 1919 it became Australian Textile Workers Union. Secretary of Plumbers Union, Ballarat, to 1924.
  • Member of Ballarat Trades and Labour Council from 1907, president from 1920 to 1924, secretary? 1947 to 1956. Helped establish railway workshops in Ballarat in 1911.
  • Member of the Legislative Assembly (Labor) for Ballarat East from June 1924 to March 1927 and for Ballarat from April 1927 until defeated in April 1932.
  • Contested Allandale (by/election) in 1933, Ballarat in 1935, Australian Senate in 1940.
  • Member Country Fire Brigades Board from 1928, president 1933. Advocated construction of White Swan Reservoir.
  • Cause of death: coronary sclerosis (years) and chronic bronchitis (years).

Geoff Browne, Biographical register of the Victorian Parliament, 1900-84 (Melbourne, 1985); Textile Topics, August 1967 p.12

Citation details

'McAdam, William James (Billie) (1882–1967)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 28 May 2024.

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