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Bernard Bob Bessant (1893–1941)

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

IWW men, 1920 [Bessant is seated in front row, far left]

IWW men, 1920 [Bessant is seated in front row, far left]

photo from Mary Glynn, the girl in the second row from bottom, per Verity Burgmann

While returning from work to his home in Hudson-street, Hamilton, last night, Mr. Bob Bessant, 48, well-known trade-unionist, collapsed and died.

In a tribute to the late Mr. Bessant to-day, the Secretary of the Metal Trades Group of Unions (Mr. A. R. Buckley) said that the trade-union movement had suffered a distinct loss. The late Mr. Bessant, he said, was born in Southampton (England) and came to Australia just before the 1914-18 war.

During the anti-conscription campaign, in which he took a leading part, the late Mr. Bessant was arrested in 1916 and served four and a half years in gaol. Among others who were imprisoned with him was Mr. Donald Grant, M.L.C.

Following a Royal Commission the late Mr. Bessant was released, the Judge stating that it was not just nor right that he should have been convicted.

On his release he again became active in the working-class movement, first in Sydney and then in Brisbane. Later he came to Newcastle and became a member of the Amalgamated Engineering Union. He was a keen advocate of industrial unionism and of the Soviet Union and its policy.

'Bob Bessant made tremendous sacrifices in the interests of the working classes,' added Mr. Buckley. 'He desired nothing more than to see a better social order for the uplifting of the poverty-stricken people'.

The funeral, which will be by train to Sandgate cemetery, will leave T. Moore's funeral parlors, Hamilton, at 2.30 to-morrow afternoon.

Original Publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Bessant, Bernard Bob (1893–1941)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 28 September 2023.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

IWW men, 1920 [Bessant is seated in front row, far left]

IWW men, 1920 [Bessant is seated in front row, far left]

photo from Mary Glynn, the girl in the second row from bottom, per Verity Burgmann

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Besant, Bernard Bob

8 May, 1893
Southampton, Hampshire, England


1 October, 1941 (aged 48)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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.

Passenger Ship
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