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Mitchell, William (1850–1923)

from Maryborough Chronicle (Qld)

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

William Mitchell, n.d.

William Mitchell, n.d.

photo supplied by John Turner

The death occurred early yesterday morning, at his residence, Ferry street, of a very old and respected resident of Maryborough, Mr William Mitchell, senr., who, for the past years had been prominently associated with most public affairs of the city. By his death is removed a prominent figure in the organisation of the Labour Party of Queensland in the past, and his passing will be mourned by a large circle of friends in all parts of the State with whom, in his private and public life, he came in contact. Born at Falkirk, Scotland, in the year 1850, the late Mr. Mitchell at an early age entered the large foundry in his native town and served his time at the trade. In those early days, in his old home town, he established a link of friendship with Mr. William Kidston, who later became Dr. Kidston, Premier of Queensland; also Messrs. C. Clegg, W. Allan (of the present firm of Allan and Stark), and Alex. Campbell (a well known citizen of Maryborough). Imbued with a desire for self-improvement, the late Mr Mitchell was an earnest student at a night-school and local industrial school; where he obtained the basis of an education which later served him well in the execution of his duties in his public career. Later becoming connected with a large publishing firm in Edinburgh, Mr. Mitchell, who possessed the ability of a keen business man, decided to immigrate to Australia, where he recognised lay great possibilities, and in the year 1882 he landed in Maryborough as a passenger by the Scottish Wizard. Establishing a stationer's business in upper Adelaide street, he later changed the locality of his business to Kent street, and still later to its present position in Adelaide street. During this long period he interested himself in public movements, especially local authorities and as a resident of Tinana for many years, he was a valued member of the now defunct Tinana Divisional Board. At a later stage in life he was returned as a member of the Maryborough City Council and in his Aldermanic capacity rendered valuable service. Political activities, however, compelled him to relinquish local authority work and for many years he was prominent as a local leader in the Queensland Labour movement. The late Mr. Mitchell was an ardent politician, and early in his career in Queensland, joined the Liberal Association, but found its outlook too restricted, and he turned his attention to the Labour movement which was then rising above the political horizon. With the late Messrs. W. Adam and John Norman and Mr. W. H. Demaine he helped the industrial Labour movement for some years and in the late eighties took an active part in the formation of the general Labour union, which later was merged in the Australian Labour Federation, and which embraced political action in its constitution and whose objective was practically the same as the much talked of present Labour objective—"the red objective." Following the big maritime strike and the shearers' strike, Labour defiantly took the political field and Mr. Mitchell was prominent in the movement locally from the beginning. In the municipal council he represented Labour for some years doing excellent work. He first stood for Parliament in March, 1899, along with the late Mr. C. S. McGhie, when both were defeated. In 1902 Messrs. Norman and Barton were elected to represent Maryborough in the Queensland Parliament this being the first time Labour in Maryborough got representation in the State Parliament. Mr. Barton died before he could take his seat in Parliament and the party ran Mr. Harry Turley who was defeated by Dr. H. C. Garde. In 1904 Messrs. Norman and Mitchell were elected Members for Maryborough. In May, 1907, Mr. Mitchell was again elected along with Mr. J. Adamson, Mr. Norman who stood as a Kidstonion, being defeated. In February, Messrs. Mitchell and Adamson were re-elected. In Oct. 1909, Messers. Adamson and Mitchell were defeated by Messers E. B. Corser, and C. J. Booker. In March, 1910, Mr. Mitchell had to undergo a serious operation at the hands of Dr. McCormack in Sydney and on his return he was made the recipient of a purse of sovereigns and a handsome illuminated address by members of the Labour and friends. In April 1912 Mr. Mitchell stood against Mr. Corser and was beaten by a few votes. An appeal following, a new election was ordered and it was held in October of the same year, and resulted in Mr. Mitchell being defeated by a very small majority. This practically ended his political career though he held his position in the Labour organisation and actively assisted in the work up to the beginning of his illness (about a year ago), which ended in his death. He was steadfast and true to his Labour principles always, and attained in Parliament to the position of Deputy-Leader to the late Mr. Dave Bowman. His was an able and steadying influence in that position. He had lived a full and useful life, and had little to regret in his passing. In private life, Mr. Mitchell by his broad views and sympathy won widespread esteem and made life-long friendships. The late Mr. Mitchell, who was predeceased by his wife four years ago, is survived by a family of one son Mr. W. Mitchell (conducting the stationery business in Adelaide street) and two daughters, Mesdames A. Hodges (Marlborough), and H. Stephens (Melbourne). There are also ten grandchildren. The funeral will leave deceased's late residence, Ferry street, this morning at 10.30 o’clock.

Original Publication

  • Maryborough Chronicle (Qld), 22 May 1923

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Citation details

'Mitchell, William (1850–1923)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://labouraustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/mitchell-william-16002/text27272, accessed 21 November 2017.

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