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Robert Hamilton (Bob) Erskine (1905–1982)

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This entry is from People Australia

Robert Erskine, n.d.

Robert Erskine, n.d.

Robert Hamilton (Bob) Erskine (1905-1982) textile worker, trade union official and politician 

Birth: 25 June 1905 at Merewether, Newcastle, New South Wales, son of native-born parents Richard Hamilton Erskine (1883-1939, a tram driver, and Anne Bland, née Craig. Marriage: 11 June 1932 at Marrickville, Sydney, to Mary Dorothea (Ronnie) Ferry (1902-1981), born in Marrickville. They had two daughters. Death: 18 September 1982 in nursing home at Collaroy Plateau, usual residence: Earlwood, Sydney, NSW. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Moved with parents to Newtown in 1912. Educated at Camdenville public school, Newtown.
  • Worked on milk cart from 1917 then was a buggy boy for commercial traveller.
  • Apprenticed to a farrier, worked at trade until about 1926. Was a wagon driver, employed at Globe Worsted Mills from 1927 to 1934.
  • Member of the Farriers' Union and of the Storemen and Packers' Union then of the Australian Textile Workers' Union (ATWU). On the NSW management committee of the ATWU from 1928, vice president 1929, organiser from 1934, secretary-treasurer 1941-62, federal president 1947-62, federal secretary-treasurer 1962-72. Was a life member of the Textile Worker’ Union.
  • Joined Australian Labor Party Marrickville branch in 1922. Member of the NSW ALP central executive from 1946 to 1952 and from 1954 to 1969.
  • Elected member of the NSW Legislative Council on 23 April 1949. Retired on 22 April 1973.
  • Delegate to Trades and Labor Council from 1935 and trustee from 1941 to 1972. President of the Labor Day committee, and sometime trustee.
  • President Marrickville United Friendly Society Dispensary. President Friendly Society Association of NSW.
  • Member of the Star of Marrickville branch of the Grand United Order of Odd fellows, and past Grand Master. Made a life member ALP NSW branch in 1979 nominated by Australian Textile Workers’ Union.
  • Cause of death: pneumonia, three cerebral vascular accidents, quadriplegic diabetes, indwelling catheter leading to urinary tract infection, heart block pacemaker. 

Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt & Elizabeth Hinton, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979), funeral notices, Sydney Morning Herald, 21 September 1982.

Citation details

'Erskine, Robert Hamilton (Bob) (1905–1982)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Robert Erskine, n.d.

Robert Erskine, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


25 June, 1905
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia


18 September, 1982 (aged 77)
Collaroy Plateua, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism