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James (Jim) McPherson (1876–1955)

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James (Jim or ‘Big Mac’) McPherson, also known as James Macpherson (1876-1955) shearer and trade union official 

Birth: 1876 at Meredith, Victoria, son of Archibald McPherson (1833-1918), farmer, born at Stroud Herins, Inverness-shire, Scotland, and Margery (Marjory), née McMaster (1834-1894), born in County Sligo, Ireland. Marriage: 1924 at Melbourne, Victoria, to Flora Tierney (1890-1942), born in Bendigo, Victoria. They had one daughter and one son. Death: 3 August 1955 at Mount Royal Hospital, Parkville, Melbourne, usual residence Whyte Street, Middle Brighton, Melbourne. 

  • Joined Creswick branch of the Australasian Shearers’ Union (later Australian Workers’ Union (AWU)) in 1894. Acted as shed representative and shearers’ representative on many occasions. Organiser of the Victoria-Riverina branch of the AWU under Ted Grayndler in 1901-1902. In 1908 was re-elected organiser retaining the position until 1920 when he was appointed in charge of the Melbourne office.
  • Officer in the AWU for many years, working as part of the office for twenty years. President of Victoria-Riverina branch, of the AWU in 1938. Sometime acting secretary of the AWU, Victoria-Riverina branch. Branch secretary from June 1943 to 1946, he was then assistant secretary until he retired from all union positions in 1951. In 1946-1948 he was also branch president. From 1943 to 1951 he was branch delegate to the Melbourne Trades Hall Council.
  • Had joined the Labor party in his youth (1894). President and secretary of ALP’s Warrenheip branch. President of Dandenong branch on several occasions, including 1938.
  • Assisted in the Corangamite electorate in 1910 when J. H. Scullin was elected. Assisted in campaign which resulted in the defeat of Prime Minister S. M. Bruce by E. J. Holloway. Assisted in State ALP campaign which resulted in election of Frank Field to the seat of Dandenong in 1937.
  • Cause of death: heart failure (3 days), arteriosclerosis (some years) and senile debility (many years).

ALP Victorian branch, Central Executive Report 1955-56; Labor Call (Melbourne), 4 August 1938 p 7, 29 July 1943, p 9.

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Citation details

'McPherson, James (Jim) (1876–1955)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • MacPherson, James

Meredith, Victoria, Australia


3 August, 1955 (aged ~ 79)
Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria, 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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism