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Stenhouse, John Wilson (1874–1931)

by Chris Cunneen

John Wilson Stenhouse (1874-1931) coalminer, gaoled trade union leader, shire president

Birth: 22 April 1874 at Liberton, Midlothian, Scotland, son of James Stenhouse (1854-1928), miner, and Mary Baillie, née Wilson (1853-1918). Marriage: 1899 at Minmi to Janet Johnston (1881-1941). They had two daughters. Death: 30 August 1931 at Belmont, Lake Macquarie, New South Wales. Religion: ? 

  • Arrived in Sydney on 6 December 1878 with his parents aboard the Hanaford. Like his father, who worked at the Duckenfield and Back Creek colliery and in 1884 was a representative of the Minmi miners, John Stenhouse also became a miner.
  • Lived at West Wallsend from about 1889. In 1903 electoral roll, both James and John Wilson Stenhouse were recorded as miners. John was closely connected with the co-operative store as a director and treasurer. In 1906 he was appointed temporary councillor for Lake Macquarie Shire Council. Re-elected in subsequent years he also served a term as shire president.
  • As a delegate of the Colliery Employees Federation Stenhouse was one of thirteen men charged with inciting a strike and fined by Judge Heydon £100, in default two months imprisonment, on 29 December 1909. In January he visited Melbourne to seek aid for the striking northern miners. Next month he was nominated by Pelaw-Main miners’ lodge as district check-inspector, but was taken into Maitland gaol with eight of his other colleagues on 22 February. He was released on 4 April.
  • In company with the rest of the gaoled delegates, at a ceremony at Newcastle Trades Hall on 16 May, he was awarded a medal engraved with the words "Presented by Colliery Employees’ Federation in Commemoration of 1910. Undaunted still”. In 1911 he was acting president of the CEF.
  • In the 1913 electoral roll his occupation was recorded as commercial traveller. A 1918 source shows him as licensee of Museum Hotel, West Wallsend. In the electoral roll for 1930 his occupation is recorded as mine deputy.
  • Death notices indicate he was a worshipful brother of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales Lodge St Andrews, No. 198, and brother of Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows lodge.

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Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Stenhouse, John Wilson (1874–1931)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/stenhouse-john-wilson-32119/text39687, accessed 20 October 2021.

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