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Daniel (Dan) Rees (1866–1934)

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Daniel Rees junior (1866-1934) coal miner, gaoled trade union leader, Labor politician 

Birth: 10 March 1866 Waratah, New South Wales, son of Daniel Rees, Welsh-born miner and chair of Hunter District Miners' Protective Association, and Elizabeth, née Francis. Marriage: 6 September 1888, Wallsend, Newcastle, to Elizabeth McPherson Syme. They had two sons and one daughter. Death: 19 June 1934, Leichhardt, Sydney, New South Wales. Burial at Wallsend, Newcastle, New South Wales. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • Spent early years in Lithgow; moved to Wallsend aged nine. Educated at Plattsburg school. Australian Rules intercolonial player in youth.
  • At 12 employed by Co-operative Colliery Wallsend, later at Elermore Vale mine.
  • Member of delegate board of Coal Miners' Mutual Protective Association of the Hunter River District 1888. Subsequently active in Colliery Employees' Federation (brother Ben also active in union); chair. Co-operative Colliery lodge at 23 years; member CEF Northern District Delegate Board.
  • Acting chair after arrest of Peter Bowling and others during 1909-10 coal strike. Convicted on 30 December 1909 with thirteen others of having instigated a strike and gaoled for 2 months after refusing to pay £100 fine imposed by Judge Charles Heydon.
  • member coal tribunal during World War I. Alderman Wallsend council. General president Australasian Coal & Shale Employees' Federation 1922-34, retiring through ill health.
  • Member NSW ALP Central Executive 1923-27; director Labor Daily 1924-25; vice-president ACTU 1927-34. Dedicated unionist but proved incapable of rising above acute difficulties associated with 1929 Northern lock-out and ensuing depression; unsuccessfully opposed for presidency by Charles Nelson.
  • Labor Member of the Legislative Council of NSW Nov.1931-June 1934.

A.L.P. Year Book / Australia Labor Party. New South Wales Branch 1933 & 1934/35; Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt and Elizabeth Hinton, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); Robin Gollan, The coalminers of New South Wales: a history of the Union (Melbourne, 1963); Edgar Ross, A history of the Miners' Federation of Australia ([Sydney] 1970); Labor Daily, 13 Jan. 1927; Newcastle Morning Herald, 30 December 1909, p. 5, accessed 25 July 2021.

Additional Resources

  • funeral, Newcastle Sun (NSW), 21 June 1934, p 14

Citation details

'Rees, Daniel (Dan) (1866–1934)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


10 March, 1866
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia


19 June, 1934 (aged 68)
Leichhardt, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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.

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