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David McNeill (1870–1945)

Mr. David ('Dad') McNeill, one of the stalwarts of the Australian industrial and political movements, died in Newcastle Hospital on Sunday. His funeral took place today at the Beresfield Crematorium.

A former district secretary of the Miner's Federation, Mr McNeill was one of the best known figures on the northern coalfield, where he spent the greater part of his life. Born in Scotland, he was taken by his parents to New Zealand at a very early age, and came to Australia when he was seven.

At 13 he got his first job in a colliery, at the old Ferndale pit in Tighe's Hill. All trace of this mine has long since disappeared. Later, he spent many years at the old Seaham pit at West Wallsend. also long since closed down.

He was a member of the Miners' Delegate Board in the days when the union was known as the Hunter River Miners Association, and when the Central Council was formed in 1914 he was a member. He was one of the first Newcastle representatives elected when the group system for the Board of Management was introduced. His term as northern district secretary was from 1927 to 1930. His membership of the union extended over 56 years.

He was a prominent member of the Socialist Labor Party.

Tributes to Mr. McNeill's work throughout his lifetime were paid by present miners' officials.

The Rev. K. Dyster officiated at the funeral service. Chief mourners were Mrs. J. Henderson (sister), Mr. J. McNeill (brother), Mrs. T. Farnham, niece, Mrs. G. McNeill (sister-in-law), and Messrs. M. Tennant and J. Toward (brothers-in-law).

Original publication

Citation details

'McNeill, David (1870–1945)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • McNeil, David

24 April, 1870
Tranent, East Lothian, Scotland


18 February, 1945 (aged 74)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

pyloric obstruction

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