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Obituaries Australia

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Armfield, Thomas Gummersal (Tom) (1851–1931)

from Worker (Brisbane)

The death was reported from Kogarah (N.S.W.) of Thomas G. [Gummersall] Armfield, who for many years represented the Musgrave seat in the Queensland Legislative Assembly. The late 'Tom' Armfield, who was 80 years of age, was one of the rugged type of Laborites who helped to found and maintain the Trades Union Movement, when it took some grit and pluck to be a Labor man. He was born in England and arrived in South Australia when an infant. Proceeding to Victoria, at the age of 15, he learnt the trade of a coachsmith. In 1879, he was instrumental in the formation of the Coach makers' Union, the old union having been defunct for years. He was elected president of the society, and afterwards its secretary, and represented it on the Melbourne Trades Hall Committee — now the Melbourne Trades Hall Council. He began, in 1882, the successful agitation for shortening the working hours of his trade, from 10 hours a day to eight, and at the Trades Union Conference of 1884, at which Labor-in-politics was brought forward, Armfield represented his union.

During the next five years he was in and out of work, getting most of his jobs in country districts. Then he went to New South Wales, and was soon active in union matters again, and, among other offices, was president for two years.

Over 20 years ago 'Tom' Armfield arrived in Bundaberg, and immediately he associated himself with the Labor Movement, becoming eventually president of the W.P.O.

In 1915 he was elected for the Musgrave seat, but at the elections in 1920 he was defeated and he retired from public life.

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Citation details

'Armfield, Thomas Gummersal (Tom) (1851–1931)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 29 September 2020.

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