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William Campbell (1851–1913)

A striking personality in the Labor movement in the person of Mr. William Campbell died yesterday at the residence of his son, 25 Ashmore-street, Brunswick. Mr. Campbell, who had been blind for the past five years, had been in declining health for some time, and the immediate cause of his death was heart failure. Deceased, who was 61 years of age, was born in Campsie, Scotland, and joined the Amalgamated Society of Engineers while working in Glasgow in 1871. He arrived in Australia in 1882, landing in Sydney, and coming over to Melbourne in the same year. Mr. Campbell was one of the founders of the Melbourne South branch of the society in 1883, and he had been closely identified with the organisation ever since, filling almost every office in the society. The trust reposed in him was shown by the fact that in 1890 he was chosen as the first representative of Australia to the delegate meeting of the society held at Liverpool in that year. As representative of the society on the Trades Hall Council and the Eight Hours Committee for many years, he filled the highest positions on those bodies, being president of the council and several times president of the committee. As a trustee of the council he also occupied a position on the executive of the Trades Hall Council up to the time of his death. Recognising his valuable services in the cause of Labor, the Eight Hours Committee made him various substantial grants of money, and his own society treated him liberally in his closing years.

As a leading member of the Iron Trades Council, Mr. Campbell always fought strenuously for the encouragement of local industry, and was often a thorn in the side of those who favored foreign sweaters to the detriment of the local manufacturers. His loyalty to Australia in this regard, and his forcible views on the subject of protection in its fullest sense, gained him many friends, not only amongst the workmen whose cause he championed, but also amongst manufacturers, some of whom benefited to the extent of thousands of pounds by his efforts. Indeed, considering the scope of his influence, very few men in the community have worked harder for the principles of protection.

Deceased leaves a widow and one son. The funeral will leave the residence of his son for St. Kilda Cemetery to-day at 2.30 p.m. As a mark of respect to his memory the meeting of the Trade's Hall Council this evening will be adjourned.

At the meeting of the Eight Hours Committee last evening feeling references were made to the death of Mr. Campbell and the valuable services he had rendered to the cause of the workers. As a mark of respect to his memory the committee adjourned.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • profile, Labor Call (Melbourne), 22 April 1909, p 15

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Campbell, William (1851–1913)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


November, 1851
Barony, Lanarkshire, Scotland


29 October, 1913 (aged 61)
Brunswick, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death


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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism