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Edward Arthur (Ted) Sinclair (1892–1961)

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This entry is from People Australia

Edward Arthur (Ted) Sinclair (c.1892-1961) miner, trade union leader and Communist activist 

Birth: [according to his marriage certificate] in 1892 in Narromine, New South Wales, son of Alexander Wood Sinclair (1860-1905), a mine labourer , former engineer, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and native-born Elizabeth Adelia, née, Graham (1870-1940). Marriage: 7 April 1923 at Registrar General’s office, Sydney to native-born Eliza Swain Peattie (1903-1930). They had one daughter. Death: 27 December 1961 in hospital at Newcastle, New South Wales. Religion: Anglican. 

  • His parents did not marry until 1897. No record of his birth found in NSW. He stated in 1916 that he was a native of New Zealand.
  • His father was appointed to the New South Wales Department of Mines and Agriculture as caretaker of the Sandy Creek Bore, via Broken Hill, on 10 April 1894. He was a member of the Broken Hill Social Democratic Club until his early death. Ted’s mother was a well-regarded nurse for some thirty years.
  • Worked on Queensland cane fields and as miner at Broken Hill. At Broken Hill, joined Amalgamated Miners’ Association and Australian Socialist Party.
  • Active anti-conscriptionist and close colleague of P. Brookfield, J. J. O’Reilly and E. Wetherell. Secretary of Labor Volunteer Army 1916.
  • Convicted for riotous behaviour, but conviction later quashed on appeal. Blacked-listed for political agitation and forced to find work elsewhere.
  • Arrived Newcastle in 1917. In same year played key role in disaffiliation of left unions from right-dominated Newcastle Trades Hall Council over conscription issue. Founding secretary of break-away Newcastle Industrial Council 1917.
  • Founding member of Newcastle Communist Group, 1919-20, which in 1921 became the Newcastle branch of the Communist Party of Australia. Founding president of the branch. Editor of Newcastle industrial group paper.
  • Joined Australian Labor Party on party’s instructions in 1922. In mid-1920s switched permanently to the ALP. Member of Newcastle branch.
  • Founding member of Newcastle May Day Committee and member Newcastle branch of Rationalist Association.
  • Elected secretary of Newcastle branch of Operative Bakers’ Union in the early 1920s. Delegate to Newcastle Trades Hall Council after left unions reaffiliated in the early 1920s.
  • Led 1924 strike against night baking. Later campaigned for 44-hour week.
  • Later secretary of Water Board Employees’ Association.
  • Delegate to ALP’s Newcastle State and Federal Electorate Councils. Member of the anti-Lang Newcastle-Kurri Kurri-Maitland group of the ALP. Associate of T. (Bondy) Hoare. In 1930s narrowly lost pre-selection for federal seat of Newcastle.
  • Regular letter-writer to Newcastle Morning Herald on matters of public interest. Organiser of Royal Newcastle Hospital Contributions Fund for some 30 years.
  • Cause of death ruptured aortic aneurysm and hypertensive cardiovascular disease.

Communist, 22 September 1922, p 3 []; Newcastle Morning Herald, 28 December 1961; George Dale, The industrial history of Broken Hill, (Melbourne, 1918); Information from Ross Edmonds, 1992.

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Citation details

'Sinclair, Edward Arthur (Ted) (1892–1961)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Narromine, New South Wales, Australia


27 December, 1961 (aged ~ 69)
Newcastle, New South Wales, 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.

Key Organisations
Political Activism