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Robert Mitchell (1858–1940)

by Peter D. Gardner

This article was published:

Robert Alexander Mitchell (1858-1940) coalminer, trade union official, and farmer

Birth: 12 December 1858 at Brackenhills, Beith, Ayrshire, Scotland, son of James Mitchell (1816-1887), iron miner, and Elizabeth, née Crawford (1821-1892). Marriage: 22 April 1889 with Presbyterian forms at the Manse, Palmer Street, Sydney, New South Wales, to Margaret Lamont (1865-1936), a domestic servant born in Scotland. They had four daughters and five sons. Death: 19 May 1940 at Northcote, Melbourne; usual residence Sale, Victoria. 

  • In the Scotland census of 1871 Robert was described as a coal miner, aged 12, living with his family at Riccarton, Ayrshire, as he was in the following census, in 1881, aged 21.
  • Arrived in Victoria about 1885.
  • Was a miner, working at Bulli, New South Wales, in 1889. He had moved to Coalville, Gippsland, Victoria, by the birth of his eldest daughter Elizabeth in March 1890.
  • Considered an agitator by the managing director of Outtrim mine (Victoria). Arrived with a party of men from Coalville district (Victoria) that included Thomas McNair and A. A. Wilson.
  • Worked at Outtrim mine for seven years and was auditor of Victorian Coal Miners' Association in 1897.
  • Made toast to 'trade unionism' at the farewell to Wilson in 1904. Still resident in district in 1908. Moved to a farm at Gunya, Foster, Gippsland, about 1913.
  • Occupation given as farmer (retired) on his death certificate. Cause of death: myocarditis and arteriosclerosis.
  • His eldest son, Archibald Lamont Mitchell (d.1960) born in June 1891 at Coalville, was wounded serving in the Australian Imperial Forces in World War I and also served in World War II.

Outtrim News
; Great Southern Advocate; 1906 Victorian Royal Commission into Coal Industry; 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, 'Mitchell, Robert (1858–1940)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


12 January, 1858
brackenhills, Ayrshire, Scotland


19 May, 1940 (aged 82)
Northcote, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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