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John Charles (Charley) Belpitt (1858–1923)

One of the best-known and most picturesque personalities among the pioneers of the Labor Movement in N.S.W. passed away a few weeks back in the person of Mr. J. G. (Charley) Belpitt, who died at Little Bay Hospital on September 20, after a very brief illness.

As a foundation member of the original Redfern Political Labor League, he had much to do with the first big victory in that constituency at the elections in 1894, resulting in the return of J. S. T. McGowen, W. F. Schey, W. F. Sharp and H. C. Hoyle.

Mr. Belpitt was an outstanding figure at every election in the Redfern-Waterloo and Newtown-Darlington, St. Peters districts, and there were few political meetings he did not attend, especially those in opposition to Labor. Whenever and wherever there was any of the difficult drudgery called for which characterised the early days of the Labor Movement — and God knows there was enough of it everywhere and always — Charley Belpitt could always be counted upon to carry the heaviest end of the burden. His unceasing efforts in opposition to the Commonwealth Constitution Bill led him t0 toil night after night, often for days on end, and when at last the result of the last referendum was made known, he received a blow from which he did not recover until the general election in which Labor secured its first majority in the Parliament of the Commonwealth. In later years he was elected an alderman of the Redfern Municipal Council, where his advocacy and support of progressive measures had much to do with that Council being today regarded as one of the most advanced in the State. It was mainly through his instrumentality that the Miscellaneous Workers Union was formed, and he thus was in the unique position of being a member four days before the first meeting. He was its first President and was an official and active member of the Board of Management up to the day of his death. The Union is taking steps in the direction of erecting a suitable memorial over his grave at Rookwood, and have inaugurated a fund for this purpose: Contributieps will be thankfully received, by Mrs. Colboume, C/o Miscellaneous Workers' Union, Trades Hall, Sydney.

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Citation details

'Belpitt, John Charles (Charley) (1858–1923)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Bulpit, John Charles

25 August, 1858
Ryde, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


20 September, 1923 (aged 65)
Little Bay, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

typhoid fever

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.

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Key Places
Political Activism