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Alexander Buik McLagan (1886–1970)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Alexander Buik McLagan (also known as Alexander Buik McLagen) (1886-1970) miner, waterside worker, trade union official and mayor

Birth: 3 January 1886 at Cowdenbeath, Dundee, Scotland, son of James McLagan (1858-1898), spirit merchant’s shopman, and Betsy Douglas, née Buik (1860-1944). Marriage: 3 June 1912 at Cowdenbeath, Fife, Scotland, to Mary, née Clark (1888-1971). They had nine children. Death: 8 April 1970 at Carrington, Newcastle, New South Wales. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • Described as a miner when he arrived in Melbourne, Victoria, aboard the Demosthenes on 18 February 1914, en route to Sydney from London.
  • Lived at Carrington and worked as a coal trimmer (wharf labourer) in Newcastle.
  • Succeeded Jack Eiffe as secretary of the Newcastle coal trimmers’ branch of the Waterside Workers’ Federation in 1926. Active in the Australian Labor Party.
  • From 1925 to 1945 he was an Alderman on Carrington Municipal Council and then on Greater Newcastle Municipal Council; he was mayor of Carrington in 1928-1930 and 1933-1934 [mayoral allowance was £1 per week]. Candidate for West Ward in Newcastle municipal elections in 1947.
  • In 1939 was president of the Carrington branch of the Heffron Labor Party, selected to represent Newcastle electorate at the unity conference on 26 August 1939.
  • Wife Mary was a member of the Carrington branch of the Labor Women’s Central Organising Committee and was active in the community.
  • Cause of death: coronary sclerosis and myocardial infarction
  • Son Alexander junior (1919-2012) prominent trade union official.

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'McLagan, Alexander Buik (1886–1970)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • McLagen, Alexander Buik

3 January, 1886
Cowdenbeath, Fife, Scotland


8 April, 1970 (aged 84)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Cultural Heritage

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

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.

Passenger Ship
Key Organisations
Political Activism