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Claude William Thompson (1876–1949)

Calude Thompson, 1910

Calude Thompson, 1910

Truth (Perth), 14 May 1910, p 12

The death occurred in Sydney last week of the veteran journalist and Trade Union officer, Claude Thompson who was one of the four Union officials who stood their trial at Darlinghurst over the 1917 general strike.

Thompson was born in Sydney, but transferred to Victoria from which State he followed the rush to the goldfields of Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie in the early nineties. He rapidly became immersed in political and industrial activities and in 1904 was appointed as representative of the Australian workers to the International Socialist Congress at Amsterdam, with credentials from the first Labor Government, of which J. C. Watson was Prime Minister.

He toured Lancashire and Yorkshire as a 'Clarion Van' lecturer, also visited France, Italy, Belgium and Holland. In 1905 he went to America and worked his way through the States from New York to California.

In 1910 he was appointed Editor of the 'Barrier Daily Truth,' and held that position for two years. He was Secretary of the Amalgamated Railway and Tramway Service Union (now A.R.U.) from 1913 to 1920. It was while he was Secretary of the Railway Union, that he was one of the leaders in the general strike in 1917, being arrested with E. J. Kavanagh (Secretary Trades and Labor Council), A. C. Willis (Secretary Miners' Federation) and Arthur Buckley on a charge of conspiracy. The jury found the leaders not guilty on two counts, and disagreed on the third. The case was then dropped.

Thompson contested the Murray seat in N.S.W. in 1920 under the new system of proportional voting, but was unsuccessful.

In 1921 he secured a position on the staff of Melbourne 'Truth,' and several times acted as Editor while his brother Peter was on holidays.

He subsequently tried his hand at hotelkeeping at Gunnedah (N.S.W.), and at banana growing at Coff 's Harbor. Neither venture was successful. During the depression he went back to Western Australia on the staff of Carlyle Ferguson's 'Guardian,'and later with R. S. Sampson's chain of country newspapers.

He returned to Sydney as a freelance contributor.

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'Thompson, Claude William (1876–1949)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 July 2024.

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