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John Robert (Johnny) Davies (1849–1926)

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This entry is from People Australia

John Robert (Johnny) Davies (also known as John Robert Davis) (1849-1926) pedler and gaoled Socialist orator 

Baptised: on 27 May 1849 at St Peter’s Anglican church, Liverpool, England, son of James Davies, book-keeper of Cheapside, later customs officer, and Mary, née Richmond.  Marriages: 8 December 1873 at the Registrar’s office, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria, Mary White (1847-1918), a machinist, born at Hobart, Tasmania. They had four sons and two daughters. (2) 26 September 1923 at Registrar’s office, South Melbourne, to native-born Eliza Rebecca Lanyon (1867-1945), a whiteworker. Death: 3 February 1926 at Richmond, Victoria. 

  • Arrived in Victoria about 1855. He was a bootmaker living at Emerald Hill (South Melbourne), Melbourne, in 1873.
  • Said to have been one of the originators in 1891 or 1892 of the May day movement in Australia.
  • Member of the Footscray and Yarraville Political Labor League. Candidate for South ward, Footscray municipal council, several times, including August 1899 and August 1902.
  • On more than one occasion was gaoled in default of paying fines for addressing Socialist gatherings in Prahran. In November 1906 was oldest member of Victorian Socialist Party to be gaoled for part in Prahran Free Speech Committee.
  • Member and trustee of the Yarraville lodge of the Knights of Labor.
  • In 1908 formed ‘The Practical Brotherhood’ in Sydney with spiritualistic component, returning to Melbourne 1909.
  • Cause of death: arteriosclerosis.

Merrifield papers, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne; The Socialist, 12 January 1907, 16 October 1908.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Davies, John Robert (Johnny) (1849–1926)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 June 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Davis, John Robert



3 February, 1926 (aged ~ 77)
Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death


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