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Arthur Frank Sonneman (1885–1950)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Arthur (Frank) Sonneman, also known as Frank Sonnemann (1885-1950) blacksmith and trade union official

Birth: 1 June 1885 at Allandale, Kapunda, South Australia, son of Otto Franz Sonnemann (or Sonneman) (c.1854-1888), engine driver, previously a shoemaker, born in Germany, and [Ernestina] Christina, née Schmidt or Fichtner (1858-1920). Both parents had been born in Prussia [Germany]. Marriage: 12 August 1931 at Adelaide, SA, to Ruby May Roskilley (1900-1953). Death: 14 May 1950 at Adelaide, SA.  

  • His father was killed when he fell down a well while working at Davey and Sons mill. The family then spent time in the district of the Murray and Darling rivers between Menindee and Wentworth.
  • In 1896 the Sonnemans moved to Broken Hill, where his mother remarried. In November 1898 his step-father Charles Lovelace Andrew [known as Charles Lovelace], a miner, was killed in a mining accident at the South mine. Mrs Lovelace became a prominent Labor supporter.
  • By 1907 Sonneman was secretary of the Blacksmiths, Toolsmiths, and Strikers’ Union.
  • In July 1914 he was elected to the committee of the Barrier District Assembly, of the Political Labor League. Sometime vice chairman of the Workers’ Industrial Union of Australia.
  • Sometime grand master of the Loyal Standard Lodge, Manchester Unity Independent order of Odd Fellows and chairman of the Friendly Societies Council.
  • In 1929 was working as a trucker.
  • In his later years lived in Adelaide, SA.

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Sonneman, Arthur Frank (1885–1950)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Sonnemann, Arthur Frank

5 June, 1885
Kapunda, South Australia, Australia


14 May, 1950 (aged 64)
Adelaide, South Australia, 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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism