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Buckley, Arthur William (1891–1974)

This entry is from People Australia

Arthur William Buckley (1891-1974) tram conductor, trade union leader, member of NSW parliament 

Birth: 16 January 1891 in Charters Towers, Queensland, son of William James Buckley, miner, later engine driver, and Louisa, née Carlson. Marriage: 20 June 1914 in St James’s Anglican Church, Sydney, to Gertrude Rachel McKenzie, tailoress. They had one son and two daughters. Death: 10 June 1974 at Arncliffe, Sydney, New South Wales. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Primary education with Christian Brothers. Apprenticed as electrician. Boilermaker’s assistant. Worked in Queensland sugar industry; 1909, sugar workers’ spokesman in North Queensland. Joined Industrial Workers of the World and led 1911 strike.
  • 1912-16 tram conductor attached to Newtown, NSW, tramway depot. Tramways Union organiser; arrested during 1917 strike. Learned that losing a strike could humiliate unions.
  • Anti-conscriptionist and appointed organiser for northern Sydney suburbs. Member, executive of Amalgamated Railway and Tramway Service Association (from 1920 NSW branch of Australian Railways Union); president 1918-1919 and decisive force in amalgamation with ARU.
  • First ARU president c. 1920-21 and secretary 1923-24. Suspended by federal executive following suggestions of ballot-box impropriety, later reinstated. Major link between NSW Australian Labor Party and ARU.
  • 1923 reminded ARU members at Werris Creek that they had been ‘shockingly defeated’ in 1917, that strikes ‘demoralised’ workers and gained nothing for them. 1918-22 employees’ representative Railway and Tramway Superannuation Board.
  • ALP member of the Legislative Assembly for Surry Hills in 1917-1920 and for Sydney in 1920-22.
  • After leaving parliament studied law and became property investor; started Castle Hill Golf Club with partner 1949.

Sources
Australian Worker
, 18 March 1920, 21 March 1923; Co-operator, 21 Dec 1916; Railways Union Gazette, 9 April 1923; ARU General Secretary’s Biennial Report, May 1950; Greg Patmore, A history of industrial relations in the NSW Government Railways (PhD thesis University of Sydney, 1985); Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt and Elizabeth Hinton, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979).

Citation details

'Buckley, Arthur William (1891–1974)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://labouraustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/buckley-arthur-william-32116/text39683, accessed 20 October 2021.

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