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Collins, Charles (Charlie) (1867–1936)

from Bowen Independent

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

Charles Collins, n.d.

Charles Collins, n.d.

The news was received with general regret of the passing of the Member for the District, Mr. Charles Collins, at Brisbane on Saturday night, at the age of 69 years. The deceased was born in England and came to Australia as a young man. He followed the occupation of a miner, and had a wide experience of mining in many parts of Australia, always working on his own or with a partner, never for an employer. He eventually went to Gympie from West Australia, where he first attracted attention as a staunch Labour man. He took delight there in addressing even the smallest gathering and laying down the Labour Party principles, and he came under the notice of the Q.C.E., which appointed him organiser for the whole of Queensland. During his period in that position he contested an election at Gympie in 1912 and was defeated. At the 1915 general election he was organising in Cairns, when lack of a suitable Labour candidate for Bowen resulted in his contesting this seat. He defeated his opponent, Mr. T. Mann, and commenced an unbroken term of 21 years as member for Bowen. As soon as he appeared in Parliament he commenced to fight for the opening of the Bowen Coalfield, and his efforts and those of a local committee succeeded in the appointment of a Committee of Investigation being appointed. A boring plant, was sent to the field and ascertained that in the area proposed to be mined there were 40,000,001 tons of coal to one square mile. The Committee itself came up to inspect the field, and shortly afterwards commenced the building of the Bowen-Collinsville railway. The first sod was turned at Merinda by the late W. H. Darwen, then Mayor of Bowen. Mr. Collins’ hopes were realised when the State Mine was opened and he sent up a surveyor to plan a township and made cheap allotments available to miners. The township was named after him, much against his wishes. He then directed his efforts to the Inkerman Irrigation Scheme, and then the new pier and crane at Bowen, the latter works being aimed at expediting the export of coal from Bowen. He was largely responsible for the appointment of H. C. Sleigh to arrange for the selling of the coal. Never tiring in his efforts to improve the districts, the late Mr. Collins obtained improved educational facilities, and every request made to him from local public bodies and private individuals received instant and courteous attention, and where possible his utmost support. He saw that Bowen obtained its share of loan money recently made available to Local Authorities, and shares with Mr. Robt. Shepherd, Chairman of the Harbour Board, the credit for obtaining the recent £30,000 loan for dredging purposes at Bowen. He was a member of the Commission which recommended the railway to Mt. Isa and was chairman of the Commission investigating the proposed Mt. Isa-Camooweal railway, when ill health necessitated him entering the Townsville Hospital, from which he returned to Brisbane a week prior to his death. He suffered from illness as a result of his mining experience, and for several years past has not enjoyed the best of health, with the result that he has not been able to speak in Parliament, or conduct recent election campaigns in his former vigorous style, and it speaks volumes for the esteem in which he is held in this electorate that he held his seat by a comfortable margin, on the last occasion being nearly a record. On one memorable occasion he was Acting-Premier for a short period. With his passing the electors of Bowen lost a staunch friend and energetic worker for their interests, while the Labour Movement lose a member of’ whom they have just cause to be proud. To his sorrowing wife and daughter, Lorna, we extend our deepest sympathy in their loss.

Mr. Collins lost his only son in the Great War.

Original Publication

Other Entries for Charles (Charlie) Collins

Additional Resources

  • profile, Daily Standard (Brisbane), 10 May 1915, p 3

Citation details

'Collins, Charles (Charlie) (1867–1936)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://labouraustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/collins-charles-charlie-33071/text41236, accessed 29 January 2023.

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