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George Booth (1891–1960)

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This entry is from People Australia

George Booth, 1952 [detail]

George Booth, 1952 [detail]

National Library of Australia, 40406524

George Booth (1891-1960) miner, trade unionist and politician 

Birth: 19 March 1891, Bolton, Lancashire, England, son of George Booth, fitter, and Elizabeth, née Bell. Marriage: April 1913 to Annie Elizabeth Payne in Kurri Kurri, New South Wales. They had one son and one daughter. Death: 31 July 1960 in Wallsend, NSW. Religion: Methodist. 

  • Began work in Lancashire cotton mill as 'half-timer' aged 11. Attended classes given by Philip Snowden. Developed interest in British labour movement.
  • Arrived in Australia alone in 1910. Held various labouring jobs including railway construction on Blue Mountains, also tram conductor. From 1912 was a miner on Northern coalfields, first at Stanford Methyr, then Pelaw Main.
  • 1912 joined miners' union. 1916 was a member of committee which drew up seniority rules. From 1920 was president of Stanford Methyr Miners' Lodge. Delegate to One Big Union conference in 1918. Sometime president of the Northern District Australasian Coal & Shale Mine Employees' Federation (AC&SEF) and member Delegate Board AC&SEF.
  • Advocate of consumer cooperatives. Chairman, NSW Co-operative Wholesale Society from 1921. Facilitated arrangements to back relief dockets during the 1929 northern coalfields lock-out. Foundation president of National Co-operative Insurance.
  • President of the Kurri Kurri District Hospital Board, 1918-1920.
  • Methodist lay preacher & teetotaller.
  • Member of Kurri Kurri branch of the Anti-Conscription League of Australia, October 1916.
  • Australian Labor Party member of the Legislative Assembly, NSW, for Newcastle from May 1925 to September 1927 and for Kurri Kurri from October 1927 to July 1960. During 1949 coal strike, used parliamentary influence in an attempt to restrict use of repressive measures against strikers. Chairman of Committees from May 1941 to February 1959. Threatened resignation in 1957, following State Labor government's failure to honour pledges to institute public works to counteract effect of mine closures.
  • Was succeeded in seat of Kurri Kurri by his son, Ken Booth.

Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt and Elizabeth Hinton, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); Edgar Ross, A history of the Miners' Federation of Australia ([Sydney] 1970); Andrew William Metcalfe, For freedom and dignity: Historical  agency and class structures in the coalfields of NSW (Sydney 1988).

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Booth, George (1891–1960)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 June 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

George Booth, 1952 [detail]

George Booth, 1952 [detail]

National Library of Australia, 40406524

Life Summary [details]


19 March, 1891
Bolton, Lancashire, England


31 July, 1960 (aged 69)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism