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Andrew Thomson (1858–1905)

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Andrew Thomson (1858-1905) stonemason, trade union leader and socialist 

Birth: September 1858, in Fifeshire, Scotland, son of George Thomson, stonemason, and his wife Elizabeth, née Mitchell. Never married: Death: 6 July 1905 at Woollahra, Sydney. Anglican. 

  • Arrived Australia with parents early. Briefly to Queensland, then to NSW. Self-educated and widely read.
  • Active in Operative Stonemasons’ Society, serving as delegate on Sydney Labour Council.
  • Member Australian Socialist League 1890, becoming Effective public speaker; widely regarded as leading economic theorist of the NSW socialist movement. Spoke on Marxism and socialism in Sydney Domain. Stonemason's society delegate to Labour Council of New South Wales); elected to LCNSW executive 1891.
  • Advocated campaign to organise all male workers into affiliated Director of Australian Workman.
  • Early advocate of formation of Political Labour League; served on PLL central Solidarity Pledge Party candidate for Denison in NSW Legislative Assembly elections 1894, defeating Andrew Kelly.
  • With other ASL activists, left PLL 1897 and devoted energies to ASL, becoming ASL general Co-produced ASL monthly paper the Collectivist/The People and Collectivist/The People from 1897. Contested Senate election for NSW as Socialist Labor Party candidate 1901 & 1903; also contested 1901 NSW election.
  • Active member of committee on unemployment, 1901; represented Stonemasons Society before Public Service Board inquiry into Day Labour system. Like fellow ASL/SLP activist Charles Barlow died of tuberculosis. In 1905, during terminal illness, delivered a speech at Marx hall (Sydney) critical of the Labor Party’s approach to socialism but also advancing an economic argument in support of White Australia. Author of A Criticism of the Labor Partys Socialism, SLP, 1908 (pamphlet).

J. Gibbney & A. G. Smith, A Biographical Register 1788-1939, vol 2 (Canberra, 1987); Verity Burgmann, In Our Time: Socialism and the Rise of Labor, 1885-1905, (Sydney, 1985); R. Sharpe MA thesis, 2003; The People, 15 July 1905.

Additional Resources

  • funeral, Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW), 10 July 1905, p 2

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Thomson, Andrew (1858–1905)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 16 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


September, 1858
Fife, Scotland


6 July, 1905 (aged 46)
Woollahra, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


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 Organisations
Political Activism