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Blamire, John (Jack) (1851–1905)

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

A month or so ago John [Jack] Blamire, as representative of the farmers at Hamel, visited Perth, with a view to laying before the Minister for Lands and the members of the Parliamentary Labor Party the dreadful trials and troubles of the struggling settlers who, despite an unsympathetic bureaucracy and under enormous natural disadvantages, are valiantly endeavoring to make an honest livelihood by farming and gardening on areas located on the lowlands of the resumed Hamel Estate. Again and again it has been brought under the notice of Mr. J. M. Drew, late Minister for Lands, and who now holds the portfolio of Agriculculture, that roads were wanted to enable the settlers to get their produce to market. But nothing was done beyond vague and vacuous promises that "roads and drains would be constructed through the dismal swamps at the close of the financial year, if approved," etc. Lands-Minister Bath also repeated the promise on July 6 in an interview. However, John Blamire was sick and tired of promising, and being in bad health, suffering from lung complaint through working in the swamps, he determined to break out into open rebellion, unless steps were immediately taken to remove the disabilities of the settlers who were suffering the martyrdom of man. Blamire saw many of the rank and file of the Labor Party, who again urged the brave old battler to "keep quiet for the good of the cause." Ministers were also interviewed, and they feared for their reputations if "Old Jack" rounded on them, for none knew better than he the past records of the wasters now holding portfolios and drawing big salaries, whilst they permit under-strappers to misrule and mock at the troubles of the tillers of the soil and workers' woes generally. Being in bad health, and ill-clad and penniless, all the pioneers whom he met in the city had a kind word for their generous hearted mate, whose hand was always ready in the golden days of Hannans to help the needy, or those whose luck was out. The Ministers saved their face with diplomacy, duplicity and deception unparalleled in the annals of modern political history. With oily, soft and smooth-tongued phrases, they greeted poor Blamire in the fraternal familiar ways of olden times. They expressed their intentions of carrying out the long-delayed departmental promises so far as the settlement of drains and roads was concerned, and soothingly they spoke of the sorrow they felt for their old friend and A.W.A. brother, who in the evening of his days deserved gentler treatment. But if the Fates were unkind, they would make his lot easier. Everything within their power would be cheerfully done, for his loyal and unswerving support in the past was evergreen in their memories and never to be effaced. He could return with the assurance that good warm clothing which he so sorely needed would be forwarded to Hamel, and financial matters would be fixed up in a few, days, to enable him to go to Sydney, where his brothers reside, and who urged him every mail to leave the West to the wasters, and come back to sunny-New South Wales. He went back to his camp in the swamp, daily expecting the promised clothes, etc., which never came. The days and weeks went by, the wet weather set in, and with no change of clothes and insufficient food, and feeling that he was bitterly disappointed and basely deceived, his ailment became intensified, and finally, an utter physical wreck, he was induced to leave his lonely, damp and leaky camp and accept friendly hospitality and shelter in the house of a brother-settler, who did all in his power to alleviate the sufferings of the luckless Blamire, whose last days on earth were embittered with the thoughts that he had been heartlessly deceived, callously neglected and forgotten by those whom he had helped to attain place, power, and position, and from whom he had every reason to expect a grateful recollection of the past services of his brother and himself, when the Labor Party was inaugurated on the Eastern goldfields, and Vosper, the staunch and true, was the recognised champion of the Democratic vanguard of the West. Notwithstanding the unremitting care and attention cheerfully given to Blamire by Mr. Corkran and his kindly and good-hearted wife, it was apparent that never more would poor old Jack rise again from his bed, and, like a duly accredited member of the Ancient and Accepted Order of White Men, he faced the inevitable. With no misgivings for the future, he bade those who were near him a long and a last farewell, and quietly passed away into the Land o' the Leal. Mr. Corkran, who proved a faithful friend to the very last, made all arrangements for Blamire's funeral. The brave old battler's last resting-place on earth is in tbe quiet little cemetery at Waroona. Such is the earthly end of Jack Blamire. But surely if the Ministers of the Crown and the Labor members are not utterly lost to all sense of honor and humanity they must at times feel regret, remorse and shame for their treatment towards Blamire, who, in Queensland, in New South Wales and in Westralia had battled bravely for the cause of Labor and true Democracy, in storm and sunshine, without fee, pay or reward. Knowing him for more than 20 years, the writer does him the barest justice in saying he had all the genuine qualities that are eloquently expressed in the phrase of 6the bush: "He was a White Man."

Original Publication

Additional Resources

  • photo, Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA), 9 June 1898, p 12

Citation details

'Blamire, John (Jack) (1851–1905)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://labouraustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/blamire-john-jack-32773/text40756, accessed 26 September 2022.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Birth

9 July, 1851
Preston, Lancashire, England

Death

19 July, 1905 (aged 54)
Hamel, Western Australia, Australia

Cause of Death

pneumonia

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Religious Influence
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