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William Parker Jackson (1856–1917)

The news of the death of Mr. W. P. [William Parker] Jackson, more familiarly known as Parker Jackson, the popular secretary of the South Australian branch of the Boot Trade Employes' Federation, which occurred yesterday morning at his home in Leicester street, Parkside, at the age of 64 years, will be received with surprise and sorrow by a large circle of friends. Although his health had not been satisfactory for some time, no one had any thought of the end being so near. Last week he was missed from his accustomed haunts at the Trades Hall, where he had been practically an institution in himself for many years, but it was concluded that the illness was but a temporary indisposition. At the half-yearly meeting of shareholders of "The Daily Herald" last Tuesday evening, at which Mr. Jackson was re-elected a member of the board of directors, the chairman (Mr. P. Hahn) apologised for his old colleague's absence, and thanked the meeting on his behalf for his re-election.

The passing of Mr. Jackson removes from the trade-union movement of South Australia one of those fine personalities which are a credit and an honor to Labor. Of a quiet and unassuming disposition, his work on behalf of the cause in which he was reared and loved so well, was performed with modesty and determination. Although ever keeping personal ambition and aims in the background, he worked for what he considered to be the general good in such a manner that he was not easily turned aside from his purpose. This characteristic was illustrated in connection with his efforts towards consolidating the bootmakers throughout the Commonwealth into one strong union. For a long time New South Wales stood aloof, but with a pertinacity that would brook no denial Mr. Jackson stuck to his guns and had the supreme satisfaction of eventually seeing his hopes realised. Still he had no desire to take credit to himself for the work achieved, but among the rank and file of the union his performance was so unequivocally recognised as to win for himself the proud title of "the Father of the Federation".

He was one of the old type of unionists who progressed with the times, and was an untiring and earnest advocate of the value of organisation, in which he had a profound belief as the means for the ultimate emancipation of the workers. He served his apprenticeship to the bootmaking trade in the early days in Melbourne at the time when factory work such as is now in existence was practically unknown. He was one of the old disciples of St. Crispin, who had to go to the hide itself for his material and turn out the finished article ready for wear by his own unaided hands. In the course of conversation on old times he loved to dwell on the comparisons between past and present methods of boot manufacture. In his early days he took a keen interest in trade unionism, when it was not such a popular institution as it is now. The result was that on one occasion he had to pay the penalty of victimisation. But this, instead of acting as a deterrent, spurred him on with fresh enthusiasm. He came to this State about 40 years ago, and at once actively associated himself with the Bootmakers' Union, of which he became the local secretary about 15 years ago. But he always had a wider vision than the confines of his own particular union, and did everything that possibly lay in his power to further the interests of unionism in every direction, both politically and industrially. The discursive and argumentative faculties for which bootmakers have always been famed were unfortunately somewhat impaired owing to hardness of hearing, from which he suffered of late, but this fact notwithstanding, he was noted for the fair and firm grip he had of all subjects connected with the advancement of Labor and the earnestness of his efforts.

Mr. Jackson found time to devote a considerable amount of attention to other activities besides those connected with his own union. He was a member of the Duke of Brunswick (Druids') Lodge, a trustee of the Trades Hall, and treasurer of the Eight Hours' Committee, besides, as already stated, a member of the board of management of ''The Daily Herald," the interests of which as a fighting force on behalf of the workers he was never tired of forwarding. He was, in fact, a familiar figure in everything local connected with the Labor movement. He was also secretary of the Confectioners' Society. His work will be long remembered by those with whom he has been so closely associated, and serve as an example for younger men to follow. One of the most recent of his acts, so characteristic of the man, was the promotion of a testimonial to the aged treasurer of the union.

The deceased left a widow but no family. A brother survives in Melbourne, with whom Mr. F. W. Lundie endeavored to communicate by telegram yesterday. Mr. J. T. Hook (president) and Mr. W. C. Hine (acting secretary) of the federation are communicating with Mr. Arthur Long (Federal secretary in Melbourne), who it is considered will most likely attend the funeral, which will leave deceased's late residence, Leicester street, Parkside, tomorrow afternoon at 2.30.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • photo, Chronicle (Adelaide), 6 January 1906, p 27
  • photo, Quiz (Adelaide), 21 August 1908, p 3
  • photo, Quiz (Adelaide), 1 October 1909, p 3
  • photo, Quiz (Adelaide), 15 October 1909, p 3

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Jackson, William Parker (1856–1917)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Collingwood, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


11 November, 1917 (aged ~ 61)
Parkside, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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