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Samuel Lambert (Sam) Lemmon (1832–1902)

Mr. 'Sam' [Samuel Lambert] Lemmon, who died last week at the age of 71, was for the past 28 years care-taker at the Trades Hall. He was born in London in 1812, and at the age of 18 left that city to try his luck in Australia. He arrived at Adelaide, and was apprenticed to the wood-turning trade. After a few years spent in Adelaide, he came to Melbourne, where he was offered, and accepted a foremanship in the firm or Halstead, Kerr and Co., timber merchants. By this firm he was regularly employed for 28 years.

It was during this time that he became actively interested in the Labour Movement. Long hours prevailed in those days, and the Eight Hours system was in its infancy.

About this period, too, he took the initial steps of convening a meeting of his fellow-employes to take action to secure the Eight Hours system for their trade. A few attended and agreed to take action. A Union was formed. Sam Lemmon was appointed secretary, and from this gathering has grown one of the strongest Trade Unions of the State— now known as the Timber Yard Employes Association.

The strength of the Union was soon felt in the trade, and upon the shoulders of 'Sam' fell the duty of asking the boss to grant the Eight Hours. Before the Union was many years old their Eight Hours  was adopted by all the leading firms in and about Melbourne. The Unionists had the pleasure of witnessing the one-time unsympathetic employers approaching the few 'undesirables' and saying 'If you will not join the Union you had better clear out.'

September  2, 1870, was what our departed, fellow-worker referred to as the red-letter day in his life. It was the day when a number of timber trade employes gathered together to do him honour and present him with a testimonial for the untiring zeal with which he had worked to procure the Eight Hours system for their Union.

'Sam' Lemmon naturally took an active interest in the Eight Hours Anniversary Committee, being at times a member of the Executive and secretary of the Sports Committee. During his 28 years as Trades Hall caretaker he saw many sides of the Labour Movement, and during his career capitalistic jackals sought to extract information from him leading to the arrest of prominent Unionists.

The utmost confidence in his honesty and sincerity was always manifested by the members and trustees of the Trades Hall. His sound advice, strengthened by experience, will be greatly missed by the many officers of the Trades Union Movement. The feeling towards him and his family was displayed in the Trades Hall Council last Friday evening by its adjournment and 'Bob' Solly's sympathetic referenee to the deceased.

At the earnest wish of the members his remains were placed in the Trades Hall Council Chamber on Saturday afternoon, from which place they were conveyed to the Boroondara Cemetery.

The Tocsin desires to express its sympathy with the deceased's family in their sad bereavement.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • photo, Labor Call (Melbourne), 29 August 1912, p 5

Citation details

'Lemmon, Samuel Lambert (Sam) (1832–1902)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Londonderry, Ireland


25 July, 1902 (aged ~ 70)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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