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Anderson, Charles Henry (Carl) (1860–1934)

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

Mr. Carl H. Andersen, who, until recently was secretary of the Meat Employees' Union, died at a private hospital at Ringwood on Monday last. He had been ill intermittently for some time, but his grit and determination enabled him to ward off the end more persistently than many younger men than himself. Mr. Andersen was born in the Ballarat district in 1860. His father arrived in Victoria in the "fifties" of the last century, and was lured to the gold rush at Ballarat. Mr. Carl Andersen, when he was two years of age lost his mother. His father went to the New Zealand goldfields in 1872, and died in 1874. Mr. Andersen was educated at Napoleon's school, and contemplated adopting a scholastic career. He became a pupil teacher, and had for one of his fellow-teachers, Mr. Fussell, who became a school inspector. After leaving the Educational Department, Carl went to Narracoorte (South Australia) where he obtained employment in his father's brother's store as assistant and bookkeeper. He travelled in the East of South Australia and the West of Victoria, hawking an extensive and varied stock in a large waggon, consisting of clothing, blankets, jewellery, saddlery, etc. The hawker was then regarded as an important factor in rural life.

Mr. Andersen was for 45 years secretary of the Meat Industry Employees' Union. When he resigned his position he was known as the "father" of the Melbourne Trades Hall. It is claimed that he was then the oldest permanent union secretary in Australia, and as far as records are known, in the world.

When Mr. Andersen took office at the Trades Hall as secretary of the Butchers' Union, which was the forerunner of the present Meat Industry Employees' Union, nearly 46 years ago, there were only four unions in the Trades Hall, which was then a very small building.

Mr. Andersen was actively identified with the Rev. Chas. Strong, Mr. Samuel Mauger, and a few other in the formation of the Anti-Sweating League, which did much to improve the wretched conditions of miserably paid and disorganised male and female workers. From the agitation of the Anti-Sweating League emanated the Wages Board of Victoria.

In the early days of the political Labor Movement "Charlie" Andersen rendered valuable service to Labor candidates. His energy and efficiency were not confined to the electorate in which he resided. At a general or by-election he was always ready to act as scrutineer or in any other helpful capacity for the selected Labor banner-bearer in a contest.

Mr. Andersen held many offices in connection with unionism, outside his own union. He was formerly a delegate on the Trades Hall Council, the Eight Hours' Committee, and secretary of the Salaried Officers' Association.

Mr. Andersen married Miss Louise West, who pre-deceased him. He is survived by an adult family of five married daughters and one son.

The veteran official was buried at the Box Hill Cemetery on Tuesday. The funeral started from the Trades Hall, where a service was held before the cortege left for the cemetery. Tributes were paid to the deceased by the president of the Trades Hall Council (Mr. G. R. A. Beardsworth), A. R. Wallis (president of the Salaried Officers' Association), and D. Rountree (president of the Meat Industry Union).

There was a large concourse at the graveside. Among those present was Mr. G. M. Prendergast, M.L.A. The Rev. J. H. Cain (Methodist) spoke feelingly, and laid stress on the good qualities of the departed brother, saying that he always put up a fight for the underdog and the uplifting of humanity. The clergyman finished an impressive oration with the words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!"

"Charlie" was laid to rest in the grave occupied by his wife.

The pall-bearers were:—Messrs. G. R. A. Beardsworth, A. R. Wallis, T. J. Smith, A. E. Monk (secretary Trades Hall Council), D. Rountree, J. Brown (secretary Meat Industry Union), A. J. Newman (Federal secretary of M.I.U.), and a representative of the Meat Industries employers.

The wreaths (which occupied one vehicle) included tributes from Victorian and inter-State unions, employers organisations, and others.

Farewell unto a brother,
Whose earthly work is done;
In peace the long day closes,
His Port of Rest is won.

Original Publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Anderson, Charles Henry (Carl) (1860–1934)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://labouraustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/anderson-charles-henry-carl-25502/text39730, accessed 27 November 2021.

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