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William James (Billy) Bennett (1858–1934)

from Worker

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

Qld shearers strike leaders, 1893 [Bennett is second from right, front row]

Qld shearers strike leaders, 1893 [Bennett is second from right, front row]

State Library of Qld, 64845

William J. Bennett, one of the union prisoners of 1891 sentenced to three years' imprisonment for the 'crime' of being a member of the shearers' strike committee during the historic upheaval of that time, died at his home at Ruby Vale, Central Queensland, recently. His life and character were well described in a panegyric delivered at the graveside as his remains were being laid to rest, which said:

We have known Will Bennett as a devoted husband, a gentleman of unusually high intelligence and thinking powers, a staunch defender of his principles, and one who had the courage of his convictions, even though the powers that then ruled victimised him because of his beliefs. When freedom from this victimisation came he enjoyed a thoroughly deserved popularity, which, 'had he been of such a mind. he could have used for the purposes of personal gain. But he was too big in principle for that. He had worked not for personal aggrandisement but to help his fellow men.

'Following his unselfish part in the expedition to Paraguay he was not discouraged, but labored to make conditions better, not only for his generation, but for those who are now enjoying the full rights of citzenship in the knowledge that they are safe from victimisation and interference.'

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Citation details

'Bennett, William James (Billy) (1858–1934)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 April 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Qld shearers strike leaders, 1893 [Bennett is second from right, front row]

Qld shearers strike leaders, 1893 [Bennett is second from right, front row]

State Library of Qld, 64845

Life Summary [details]


Belfast, Antrim, Ireland


23 August, 1934 (aged ~ 76)
Emerald, Queensland, Australia

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