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John William Clapham (1870–1926)

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

After a long and painful illness, Mr. J. W. [John William] Clapham, secretary of the Clothing Trades Union, died at his home at Cottesloe on Sunday last. He is survived by his widow, who is prominent in both the Labor Movement and the Women's Service Guild.

An Englishman by birth, Mr. Clapham migrated to West Australia, and for some years followed his trade, that of tailoring. Always a keen Laborite, he soon commanded the confidence of his fellow-workers and won a place as a delegate from his union to the Metropolitan Labor Council, from which he was in turn elected to the State Executive of the Movement. A reader, a thinker, a quiet-spoken man, charitable in his views and unshakable in his faith in the Cause, it is no wonder that he attained both prominence and popularity in the A.L.P. These qualities also were responsible for his success in improving the organisation of his fellow-workers in the clothing trade to such an extent that nine years ago the union was able to appoint a salaried secretary, and by ballot Mr. Clapham won the position, which he held without interruption up to the date of his death.

About the last important work he undertook was to frame a series of amendments to the Shops and Factories Act. This subject was dealt with rather exhaustively at the last A.L.P. Congress held in Perth twelve months ago, and Mr. Clapham acted as spokesman before Congress for that committee which was charged with the responsibility of preparing such amendments to the Act as the Movement found necessary.

Although he has gone, at the age of 56, our late comrade left behind him performances that will endure, an example that others could follow with advantage to humanity, and a memory that his friends will cherish for many a day.

The funeral took place on Tuesday last, and was largely attended. The remains were interred in the Congregational portion of the Karrakatta Cemetery. The Rev. George Potts officiated at the graveside. The chief mourners were Mrs. Elizabeth Clapham (widow), Mr. William Thomas (uncle), Mesdames Dale and Mitchell (cousins), and Miss A Warren, Acting-Secretary of the Clothing Trades Union.

The pall bearers were Messrs. W. M. Penfold (President Clothing Trades Union), J. T. Kenueally (President, A.L.P.), P. T. Mooney (Metropolitan Council A.L.P.), W. Somerville (Arbitration Court), J. W. Burgess (Fremantle District Council A.L.P.), H. Millington, M.L.A., A. H. Panton, M.L.A., F. S. Andrews (Employers' Federation), P. Trainer (Plumbers' Union), and Alexander Brown (Librarian at the University).

Amongst those present were Mesdames A. E. Joyner, H. W. Rischbieth, J.P., Vallance, Bromilow, W. H. and C. Evans, Le Souef and McDonald (Women's Service Guild), Curtin, Rapley, Green and Terry (Labor Women's Organisation), Miss May Holman, M.L.A., Messrs. E. H. Gray, M.L.C., V. Ulrich (Clerks' Union), G. F. Dennis (Australian Engineers); E. W. Walsh (Saddlers' Union), D. Freedman (Shop Assistants'. Union), J. B. Sleeman, M.L.A., E. J. McCormack and Cr. E. J. Kemp (Cottesloe Municipal Council), E. W. De Rose, Payton, Williams and Byrne (National Clothing Co,), G. P. Schooler (Goode, Durrant  & Co), D. Watson and A Clementson ("Westralian Worker"), C. M. Gibbons (ex-Mayor Cottesloe), W. Dethridge (President) and Williams (Master Tailors' Union), W. Smith and G. B. Samuel (Tailors' Union), J. Mather (W.A. Alliance), Arthur Watts and T. Butler (A.W.U.), Dr. Marcus Glanville (Swanbourne Progress Association), R. Bourke and H. Backshall (Shop Assistants' Union), Mr. G. B. Samuels, Mr. and Mrs. T. Waugh, Mrs. Millington, Mrs. A. H. Panton.

Wreaths were sent by State Executive, and Nedlands, Fremantle, Gosnells, Claremont, Cottesloe, and Subiaco Women's Service Guild; Officers of Municipal Council, Cottesloe; Midland Junction Council A.L.P.; the Workroom Staff, Foy & Gibson's; Mr. and Mrs. T. S. Waugh, Misses Bromham and Smith, Miss May Holman, Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Evans, Gertie and Arthur, Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham and family, Mr. and Mrs. Wright and family, A. and G. Murray, M and Mrs. J. Mitchell, and others. A large number of communications expressing sympathy have been received by the bereaved widow. The funeral arrangements were in the hands of Messrs. Arthur E. Davit s and Co., of Fremantle and Claremont.

Original Publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Clapham, John William (1870–1926)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


19 May, 1870
London, Middlesex, England


4 July, 1926 (aged 56)
Cottesloe, Perth, Western Australia, 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.

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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.

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