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John Hoskin (Jack) Close (1877–1958)

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This entry is from People Australia

John Hoskin (Jack) Close (1877-1958) miner, trade union leader 

Birth: 1877 at Benalla, Victoria, son of James Close (1841-1907), a farmer born at Northallerton, Yorkshire, England, and native-born Mary Elizabeth, née Hoskin (1854-1883). Marriages: (1) 1908 in Cessnock, New South Wales to Ellen Madeline ‘Nellie’ McMahon, late Curran (1879-1918), a widow, born at Drumbiggil, County Clare, Ireland, who had a son and daughter. They had one daughter. (2) 31 August 1920 in Perth, Western Australia, to Catherine Norton. Death: 15 March 1958 in hospital at Collie, WA. Religion: Catholic.

  • Moved to Perth in 1895. Worked in timber industry and then at Wallsend mine, Collie.
  • Served as a private in the Boer War in South Africa from 1901 to 1902 with 6th Western Australian Mounted regiment.
  • Returned to Collie where he was a miner at Boulder Mine and became active in Collie Miners’ Union.
  • Moved briefly to NSW in 1907.
  • Returned to Collie. In 1916 was president of Collie River District Miners’ Union. From 1917 to 1920, and from 1922 to 1923 was general secretary of union.
  • With A. A. Wilson appeared before coal tribunal in eastern States on three occasions. Helped to gain 8/- per day wage increase for miners.
  • 1919 appeared successfully before coal tribunal. Preferred arbitration to strikes.
  • From 1916 to 1928 delegate to South-West District Council of WA Australian Labor Party. In 1924 elected secretary of South-West District, ALP, held the post until 1928.
  • Unsuccessfully contested South-West Province of WA Legislative Council in 1926 and 1928 and the seat of Sussex in the Legislative Assembly in 1930.
  • In 1935 he was the first workmen’s inspector on the Collie coalfield and retained the post until March 1937. He was again president of the Collie Miners’ Union from November 1933 until defeated in November 1936.
  • As one of Collie’s oldest residents, and the only man remaining there who had fought in the Boer War, in 1954 he was invited to meet Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Perth but was prevented from doing so by sudden illness.
  • Cause of death: pulmonary oedema, cardiac failure and renal failure; contributory cause: diabetes (years).

Union membership file: 1101/38/1917; Westralian Worker, 20 April 1928; death certificate Wellington 37/1958; D. Black, Index to Parliamentary candidates in W.A. Elections 1890-1989. Oral history interview, Jack Curran, Battye library, OH 2239.

Additional Resources

  • profile, Collie Mail (Perth), 8 May 1952, p 1
  • photo, Westralian Worker (Perth), 12 March 1926, p 5
  • profile, Collie Mail (Perth), 17 February 1928, p 4

Citation details

'Close, John Hoskin (Jack) (1877–1958)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 June 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

John Close, 1926

John Close, 1926

Westralian Worker, 12 March 1926, p 5

Life Summary [details]


Benalla, Victoria, Australia


15 March, 1958 (aged ~ 81)
Collie, Western Australia, Australia

Cause of Death


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.

Military Service
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