People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Thomas O'Carroll (1865–1936)

by Peter D. Gardner

This article was published:

Thomas O'Carroll (1865-1936) coal miner and trade union official

Birth: 1865 in Tipperary, Ireland, son of Patrick O’Carroll, bootmaker, and Judith, née Cleary. Marriage: 18 April 1896 at Fitzroy, Victoria, with rites of Victorian Free Church to native-born Lavinia Buck (1873-1933). They had two daughters and one son. Death: 18 September 1936 in hospital at Collie, Western Australia. Religion: Anglican. 

  • One of leading activists in Victorian Coal Miners' Association (VCMA) and Political Labor Council in the Korumburra district, Victoria, between 1896 and 1904. A colourful figure; known as the 'Doctor' possibly as a result of various illicit brews concocted at his home.
  • Secretary of Outtrim lodge of VCMA 1896; auditor 1897; treasurer, 1900 & Treasurer of Outtrim Coal Miners' Accident Society 1898-99. One of defendants in George Gregory case 1902.
  • Visited Collie, WA, with Robert Semple [later a member of parliament in New Zealand] as VCMA delegate during Victorian coal strike of 1903-04. Secretary of newly-formed Outtrim branch of PLC in 1903.
  • Blacklisted by coal companies after collapse of strike in May 1904. Returned, along with many other VCMA activists, with family to Collie.
  • Auditor of Collie River District Miners' Union (CRDMU) in 1904 and nominated for same post in 1905. Secretary of Cardiff lodge of CRDMU 1906. During following 20 years was either secretary or president of Cardiff lodge.
  • Befriended Rowland James between 1911 and 1916, when latter was working as a miner at Collie, and is reputed to have encouraged James to embark on political career. Said to have written James's maiden speech in Federal parliament.
  • Cause of death: myocardial degeneration, auricular fibrillation and heart failure.

Southern Advocate; Outtrim News, Tocsin (Melbourne); Minute book of Cardiff Branch of CRDMU (in private possession); CRDMU MSS, Battye Library, Perth

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Peter D. Gardner, 'O'Carroll, Thomas (1865–1936)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 31 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Tipperary, Ireland


18 September, 1936 (aged ~ 71)
Collie, Western Australia, 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.

Key Events
Key Organisations
Political Activism