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John (Jack) Wood (1839–1877)

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John (Jack) Wood (1839-1877) coal miner and trade union official 

Birth: 29 April 1839 at Pomeroy, County Tyrone, Ireland, son of James Wood, miner, and Anne, née McShane. Marriage: 25 September 1865 at St Joseph’s church, East Maitland, New South Wales, to Ellen Maloney (1838-1924), born at Clarecastle, Clare, Ireland. They had four daughters and four sons. His youngest child was born a month after his death. Death: 21 March 1877 at Waratah, Newcastle, NSW. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Arrived in New South Wales about 1860.
  • Coalminer at Waratah, Newcastle. Lodge chairman and check weighman at Waratah about 1870.
  • Became first full-time secretary of Coal Miners' Mutual Protective Association of the Hunter River district in April 1873. With William Davies, led the successful 1873 campaign for 10-hour day and general agreement on wage rates.
  • Visited Wollongong in 1873 to lend support to miners during Mount Pleasant lockout. Revisited Southern coalfields again in 1876 with Davies to encourage solidarity between miners of Northern and Southern regions.
  • Drafted mining legislation. Responsible for Coal Mines Regulation Act of 1876.
  • Retired due to ill health in 1876. Cause of death: chronic disquamative nephritis.
  • A fund was set up after his death to support his widow and children and in later years miners continued to send donations to them.

H. J. Gibbney and Ann G. Smith, A Biographical Register 1788-1939, vol 1 (Canberra, 1987); Robin Gollan, The coalminers of New South Wales: a history of the Union (Melbourne, 1963); Edgar Ross, A history of the Miners' Federation of Australia ([Sydney] 1970).

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'Wood, John (Jack) (1839–1877)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 26 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


29 April, 1839
Pomeroy, Tyrone, Ireland


21 March, 1877 (aged 37)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

kidney disease

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Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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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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