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Bellotti, Charles (Charlie) (1864–1950)

A great militant unionist of pre-1928 strike years, Mr. Charlie ("Scrubs") Belloth [Bellotti], passed away on February 28, at the remarkable age of 86 years.

"Scrubs" was a self-made martyr, and made many sacrifices in defence of his dearly held union principles, during the long years of his membership in the now defunct Port Phillip Branch of the Waterside Workers' Federation. In all struggles for social betterment, rotary system, one pick-up a day, balloting for hatches, which challenged the greedy, anti-union "bull system", old "Scrubs" was in the forefront.

During the slack periods of shipping, foremen left him standing in the yard at Port Melbourne for weeks and months, despite the fact that he was an extremely capable deck-hand and donkey-enginedriver.

In 1910 "Scrubs," together with his life mate, Tom Riley, now deceased, and a band of other conscious unionists attempted to form a co-operative stevedoring scheme to stevedore the "Black German" line of vessels trading to Australia. The monopoly Vic. Stevedoring Co., which stevedored the majority of overseas vessels in Melbourne, killed the scheme by wilfully victimising and starving the initiators from work.

When the Port Phillip branch members, the last branch forced to take out the "dog collar" licences, marched from 25 Bay Street, Port Melbourne to the City as a body to take out the union smashing licences, old "Scrubs" stood on the steps and cried out in his broken English: "No surrend'—No lice"'—and old "Scrubs" never took out a shilling licence, and his lifetime occupation was lost to him.

An Italian by birth, "Scrubs" was a follower of the late "Chummie" Fleming and his tattered red flag of anarchism.

This adopted son of Australia had fine and militant blood in his veins, as had the rebel exiles of Eureka, in 1854. "Old Scrubs" followed the fall and the rapid rise of our Federation. At a meeting at the Port Melbourne supper rooms "Old Scrubs" and his friend Tom were introduced to the General Secretary, Jim Healy, and they were unanimous that the Federation was under courageous and incorruptible leadership.

In paying tribute to old "Scrubs's" grand militant union principles, and extending deepest sympathies to his wife and family—one of his sons is a member of the Melbourne branch—we can truthfully state that no sacrifice is too great to make for a cause to uplift the rights of the common people.

History is in the making. Exploiters and oppressors are making their last bloody, violent stand against the forces of social development, social and economic justice. Vale, "Scrubs'" Belloth.

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Citation details

'Bellotti, Charles (Charlie) (1864–1950)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/bellotti-charles-charlie-32277/text39955, accessed 8 October 2022.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2022

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Bellotti, Carlo
  • Belloth, Charlie
Birth

19 January, 1864
Novara, Novara, Italy

Death

28 February, 1950 (aged 86)
Port Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cultural Heritage
Passenger Ship
Occupation
Key Organisations