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James Brunton (Jimmy) Simpson (1905–1968)

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James Brunton (Jimmy) Simpson (1905-1968) coalminer, trade union leader and politician 

Birth: 22 January 1905 at Shotts, Lanarkshire, Scotland, son of William Brunton Simpson (b.1874), coalminer and lodge secretary, and Annie Russell, née Brunton (1877-1956), cousin of the groom. Marriage: 24 May 1941 at St Phillips Church, Newcastle, New South Wales, to Grace Margaret Ellen Gallimore. They had two sons and one daughter. Death: 10 December 1968 in Sydney, NSW. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • Educated at Pykehead public school, Scotland. Began work at 14 in coal mines.
  • Arrived in NSW with mother and siblings aboard the Euripides in 1922. Keen soccer player in youth. Worked at Stockton Borehole Colliery, Cockle Creek, until seriously injured in mine accident in 1924. Hospitalised for seven months, during which time he studied commercial subjects.
  • Joined Socialist Labor Party 1919 and the Australian Labor Party in 1921. Employed as assistant secretary by Northern District Australasian Coal & Shale Employees' Federation from 1927. Northern District secretary from 1940 to 1950, setting new standards of administrative efficiency and enjoying wide popularity through genial personality. Delegate to the International Labour Organisation conference at Geneva, Switzerland, 1947. Member NSW ALP central executive 1945-50. Member of the Superannuation tribunal, Department of Mines until May 1965.
  • Elected Labor member of the NSW Legislative Assembly for seat of Lake Macquarie 11 June 1950. Minister without portfolio March 1956 to November 1957. Minister for Mines November 1957 to May 1965, but was frustrated in attempts to persuade cabinet colleagues to legislate for 35-hour week for mine workers. Remained in parliament until his death.
  • Member advisory committee, Newcastle University College 1959-62. Member Soccer State League Council.

Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt & Elizabeth Hinton; Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); Edgar Ross, A history of the Miners' Federation of Australia ([Sydney] 1970.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Simpson, James Brunton (Jimmy) (1905–1968)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 24 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

James Simpson, 1953

James Simpson, 1953

Newcastle Sun (NSW), 16 February 1953, p 1

Life Summary [details]


22 January, 1905
Shotts, Lanarkshire, Scotland


10 December, 1968 (aged 63)
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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