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Harry David (Snowy) Meatheringham (1896–1962)

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Harry (Snowy) Meatheringham (1896-1963) gardener, wharf hand and Labor party member and Domain orator 

Birth: 8 November 1896 at Laura, South Australia, only child of native-born parents Henry Meatheringham (1856-1915), labourer, and his second wife Hester, née Parrott, late Hannett (1858-1948), a widow who had seven children by her previous husband. Marriage: 13 March 1928 at North Sydney, New South Wales, with Salvation Army forms, to Marjorie Louise Reeve, known as Jean Walther (1908-1994). They had four daughters and three sons. Death: 5 November 1962 in hospital at Katoomba, NSW; usual residence Mount Street, Leura, NSW. Religion: buried with Catholic rites. 

  • Brought up at Broken Hill, NSW, where his father died from alcoholic gastritis and self-administered chlorodyne in 1915. His mother married three more times.
  • On his marriage certificate Harry gave his occupation as engineer and his father’s as “grazier”. Electoral rolls show him as gardener (1930, 1936 and 1937) and engineer (1933 and 1943).
  • Harry was at one time a member of the Northbridge Labor League. In a bitter fight over the issue of free speech he incurred the wrath of the very conservative North Sydney Council by continually attempting to air his left-wing views in public addresses in St Leonards Park in 1920-1924.
  • Gaoled twice for contravening council’s edict restricting radical political activity, he spent all his money on ensuing litigation. He was arrested in September 1929 for behaving offensively in Macquarie Street on the opening of parliament and was fined.
  • Was president of an association called ‘The Imperial Patriots’, North Sydney. Corresponded with Henry Lawson about preserving the foreshores of Sydney Harbour with the view of getting his writings published.
  • Stood for election to parliament on several occasions. Opposed Communist speakers in the Domain and also Catholic orators.
  • In June 1928 he squatted with his wife and possessions in Manly Police Station, which was vacant at the time. Was escorted out of the premises on 7 July 1928.
  • Mobilised for full-time duty in the garrison and Citizen Military Forces on 25 August 1941. Served at Cowra prisoner-of-war camp and elsewhere in NSW. Was discharged on 1 August 1947.
  • His occupation given as “wharf hand” in the 1954 and 1958 electoral rolls and on his death certificate. Cause of death: cerebral thrombosis, cerebral arteriosclerosis and Parkinsonism.
  • Percy George Hannett, a Communist trade union official, was his half-brother.

Sources
Colin Roderick, (ed) 1976. Henry Lawson, Letters, 1890-1922, Angus and Robertson pp 397-398, 522; Northern Beaches Council History Hub, Harry Meatheringham: https://northernbeaches.recollect.net.au/nodes/view/9949

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Meatheringham, Harry David (Snowy) (1896–1962)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/meatheringham-harry-david-snowy-34436/text43228, accessed 17 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Birth

8 November, 1896
Laura, South Australia, Australia

Death

5 November, 1962 (aged 65)
Leura, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

Parkinson's

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.

Occupation
Military Service
Political Activism