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William Hamilton (Billy) McBlane (1880–1954)

The northern coalfields lost one of their most colorful and best-known personalities today when Mr. William McBlane collapsed and died.

For more than 40 years Mr. McBlane was an office-holder in the Miners' Federation. He was vice-president of the northern district from 1941 to 1946, when he retired.

Before his death, he had attended a ball in the Kurri Ambulance Hall, held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Kurri District Cooperative Society, of which he was president. He had just left the dance when he collapsed.

Mr. McBlane, who was 70 years old, joined the Miners' Federation as a member of the Minmi lodge. From the age of 18 he took an active part in federation affairs as an official.

In 1917 he went to work at Richmond Main Colliery and from 1920 to 1941 was secretary and checkweighman of the Richmond Main Lodge.

Positions he held outside the federation included those of president of Kurri A.L.P. branch, president of the Retired Mineworkers' Association and acting president of the trustees of Kurri School of Arts.

He was a keen soccer supporter and in his youth appeared as a player with the Minmi team and later as a referee. He was a foundation member of the Kurri State League Soccer Club and remained with the club until it was disbanded a few years ago. Since then he had continued his association with the code through the Weston Club.

Mr. McBlane is survived by two sons and a daughter. His wife died about four years ago.

A tribute to Mr. McBlane's work in the coal industry was paid today by northern miners' officials. The district secretary of the Miners' Federation (Mr. J. Appleton) said:

'Mr. McBlane was always noted for his assistance to young fellows interested in union affairs. His advice has been of inestimable value to me since I was appointed to the federation office in 1940.

'I pay tribute to his sincerity. His integrity could not be questioned. One could say without hesitation that he was one of the most able industrial advocates and leaders that the Miners' Federation has had over a long period.

Mr. W. Mahon, a northern vice-president, said he shared Mr. Appleton's sentiments in regard to Mr. McBlane.

'Mr. McBlane was looked upon as the most able, industrial advocate of workers' condition we have had in the federation.'

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'McBlane, William Hamilton (Billy) (1880–1954)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia


26 May, 1954 (aged ~ 74)
Kurri Kurri, New South Wales, Australia

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