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William Clifford (Cliff) Melbourne (1864–1924)

from Australian Christian Commonwealth

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

William Clifford Melbourne was born at Naracoorte in 1864, and after a brief schooling he was at an early age apprenticed to the printing trade. Later for a short time he followed his trade in Victoria, then moved to Adelaide, where he resided until his death. For more than twenty years he was on the staff of the "Advertiser," but left this work to undertake the duties of Secretary of the South Australian Typographical Society. (In his early years he had a great desire to become a minister of the Gospel, but the way not opening he determined to make his life one of service. His warm, sympathetic nature made him feel keenly the sufferings of others. This led him to become one of the early members of the Labour Party. His counsel was eagerly sought and freely given, and for one year he was President of the Party. During his Presidency feeling ran high on the Conscription issue, but with honesty and courage he marked out his own line and pursued it. In the industrial world he enjoyed the confidence of his fellows and was their representative on the Board of Industry, the Advisory Board of Education, and Apprentices' Board. He took his duties seriously and attended the Law Lectures at the Adelaide University to enable him to carry out his work efficiently. His justice and candour were appreciated, and at a meeting of the Board of Industry, at which the President (Dr. Jethro Brown), and Messrs. S. Perry, W. T. Rofe, and F. McCabe were present, the following resolution was carried:—"The Board of Industry records its profound regret at the death of William Clifford Melbourne, and desires to acknowledge the invaluable services rendered to the Board and to the community by its late member."

Mr. T. R. Bright, S.M., bore this testimony:—"While sitting as Acting-President of the Industrial Court, it was my privilege to be associated with the late Mr. W. C. Melbourne as a member. May I be permitted to say what in my opinion the world at large has lost by his early decease. Strong as his convictions were as to the principles he advocated, no one could have been more tolerant to those who differed from his views. How many of the world's differences would be overcome were there more like him!"

In education matters Mr. Melbourne was an enthusiast, and he carefully studied authorities available. He was a member of the Executive of the Workers' Educational Association and served one year as President. His services were freely given to all movements making for social happiness. He was on the Executive of the S.A. League of Nations Union and a member of the Board of Management of the Children's Hospital. His industrial and social work did not prevent him from rendering service to his Church. At Malvern he was a Sunday school teacher and for some years superintendent, and at a later period he was superintendent of the Moseley Street school at Glenelg, and he was for one year vice-president of our Methodist Sunday-school Department. For some years he had been circuit steward at Glenelg and was a member of our Annual and General Conferences. His sympathy for the suffering made him an ardent Prohibitionist, and he did much valuable work for the cause. He had a very large circle of friends in all classes of society, and they bear tribute to his worth. The funeral service at West Terrace was conducted by the Rev. C. E. Schafer. A very large gathering assembled at the grave side, and hundreds of his fellow-unionists joined in the funeral procession. During his last illness he was wonderfully patient and had complete faith in Christ his Saviour.

Original Publication

Other Entries for William Clifford (Cliff) Melbourne

Additional Resources

  • profile, Chronicle (Adelaide), 2 October 1915, p 16
  • tribute, Australian Christian Commonwealth (SA), 12 June 1925, p 9

Citation details

'Melbourne, William Clifford (Cliff) (1864–1924)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


16 February, 1864
Naracoorte, South Australia, Australia


16 November, 1924 (aged 60)
Glenelg, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

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