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Henry (Harry) McCulloch (1881–1944)

by Peter D. Gardner

This article was published:

Henry (Harry) McCulloch (1881-1944) coalminer, trade union leader

Birth: 16 November 1881 at Ballan, Victoria, son of John McCulloch (1836-1902), an auctioneer born at Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Mary Ann, née Clark (1846-1912), born at Islington, St Mary, England. Marriage: 7 May 1913 at Bairnsdale, Victoria, to native-born Margaret Robb (1886-1959). They had one daughter and one son. Death: 31 March 1944 in his residence at Collie, Western Australia. Religion: Methodist. 

  • Founding president of reconstituted Victorian Coal Miners’ Association (VCMA) 1907-1909 at Korumburra, Victoria.
  • Appears to have formed a clandestine trade union in 1906 with John Connolly, Walter Brown and possibly Ernest Yardley. At the time of revived VCMA’s registration in 1907 he was working in cooperative colliery (as was Walter Brown) as a means of avoiding victimisation.
  • Commenced mining at Wonthaggi, Vic, about 1909. At some stage in his career he had worked in New Zealand and New South Wales mines.
  • Moved to Collie, Western Australia, after marrying in 1913. Worked for nearly thirty years in the Proprietary Colliery.
  • Became active in the Collie River District Miners’ Union (CRDMU). President CRDMU 1917-1918, 1920 and 1922. Active in and sometime president of the Collie branch of the Australian Labour Federation.
  • Was an active public figure in Collie. Prominent in Returned Soldiers League activities. Sometime president of the Collie branch of the Australian Natives’ Association. Elected member of the Collie Municipal Council in 1929-1931 and in 1938-1939. Appointed a justice of the peace and presided at the Collie Children’s Court. He was a willing member of Collie Parents and Citizens’ Association, connected with the Youth Welfare Association and president of the Toc H group.
  • his wife played the organ at Collie Methodist church.
  • After being injured at work about 1942 his health failed.
  • Claimed by son to have been moderate in industrial matters.
  • Cause of death: sarcoma of femur, pulmonary metastases (1½ years).

Korumburra Times
; Edgar Ross, A history of the Miners' Federation of Australia ([Sydney], 1970); Information from J. McCulloch Bunbury, WA; P. D. Gardner, Too old to rat: the radical miners of South Gippsland 1893-1904 (Ensay, Victoria, 1994).

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Citation details

Peter D. Gardner, 'McCulloch, Henry (Harry) (1881–1944)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 28 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


16 November, 1881
Ballan, Victoria, Australia


31 March, 1944 (aged 62)
Collie, Western Australia, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (bone)

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Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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