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Howe, Robert (1862–1915)

Death has removed still another valiant from Labor's fighting line, the victim being Mr. Robert Howe, M.H.R. for Dalley, N.S.W., who, after only a short illness, died at Balmain, Sydney, on Friday last.

Mr. Howe made his entry into the Federal Parliament in April, 1910, when he sensationally defeated Mr. Wilks for the Dalley division by over 3000 votes, notwithstanding the fact that he had a handicap of 1000 votes, on the previous election's figures, to make up. In September last he increased his majority to 5166.

The deceased M.H.R., who was 54 years of age at the time of his death, was a native of London, and came to Australia in 1882. He was a pattern-maker by trade, and in that capacity worked for many years at Cockatoo Dock.

Mr. Howe was one of the most widely-read men in the Australian Labor movement, and was a deep student of economics. Even while he was a manual worker, with little enough money to spare, his library was one that might have been envied by those whose financial lots were cast in much more auspicious places. But that library, together with a fellowship without frills, was Robert Howe's school; and it equipped him with a fine store of knowledge.

Added to this asset, his gifts of oratory were great. He spoke with fluency and conviction, and to listen to him when wrapped up in his subject was an intellectual treat that none who appreciated real eloquence could willingly choose to miss.

Long before achieving Parliamentary honors Mr. Howe was a stalwart industrialist, and for nine years was general representative in New South Wales of the British executive of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers. He was also the first secretary of the General Labor Federation of Australia.

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'Howe, Robert (1862–1915)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/howe-robert-32670/text40568, accessed 7 December 2022.

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