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Robert Williamson (c. 1800–1877)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Robert Williamson (c.1800-1877) coal miner killed in fall of coal 

Birth: about 1800 in Fife, Scotland, son of Alexander Williamson and Margaret, née Oliphant. Marriage: 18 January 1830 in Lower Largo, Fife, to Helen Lindsay. They had five sons and three daughters. Death: 16 March 1877 in Hamilton, Newcastle, New South Wales. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • Arrived in Australia about 1840. For many years he lived at the Junction near Newcastle.
  • On 16 March 1877 Williamson was working in the Australian Agricultural Company’s Borehole No. 2 colliery at Hamilton, Newcastle, “taking down tops”. He had fired a shot and was filling a skip when a large lump of coal fell on him. A colleague who heard him shout ran to his assistance and with help removed the coal but Williamson died from internal injuries while he was being placed in the skip. The witness told the coronial inquest “the deceased was seventy-six years of age, and was of temperate habits; he was an experienced miner I knew him as a coal miner for the last twenty years. He was active for his age.”
  • The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.
  • A reporter wrote that “accidents at the collieries of late have been frequent and serious, in several cases resulting in a fatal termination.”
  • Williamson’s name is included in the Jim Comerford memorial wall in Aberdare, NSW, commemorating miners who lost their lives in the northern district coal mines. He is one of the oldest of them. In 2022 the wall included some 1792 names.

Frank Maxwell and Elaine Sheehan (compilers), Nineteenth Century Coalmining Related Deaths, Hunter Valley, NSW (Newcastle Family History Society Inc., Adamstown, September 2004), p 204.

Additional Resources

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Williamson, Robert (c. 1800–1877)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


c. 1800
Fife, Scotland


16 March, 1877 (aged ~ 77)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

mining accident

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.