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John Whitham (1873–1943)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

This entry is from People Australia

John Whitham (1873-1943) bricklayer, contractor and Labor activist

Birth: September 1873 at Addingham, Yorkshire, England, son of Thomas Whitham (1852-1928), bricklayer and builder, and Margaret, née Gill (1852-1925). Marriage: (1) 1904 at Fitzroy, Melbourne, to Amy Ann Brooks (Aimee). They had two fostered children. (2) Mary Ethel? Death: 5 July 1943 in hospital at Coburg, Melbourne; usual residence Swan Hill, Victoria. Religion: Methodist.

  • Arrived in Australia with his parents and siblings about 1880.
  • Learned his trade as bricklayer under his father. Worked in the family contracting business at Swan Hill, Victoria, from at least 1903: “played a prominent part in public matters, charitable matters and social matters” in the district. Member, sometime vice-president, of the Swan Hill branch of the Political Labor Council. Nominated as candidate for Swan Hill shire council in April 1907.
  • Served for four years in the Victorian Rangers. Enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 2 July 1915 at the age of 41 years and 10 months. Posted overseas with No. 2 Squadron of the 1st Remount Unit in November 1915.
  • Returned as corporal from Suez to Australia aboard the Sreang Bee on 29 April 1916. Discharged in Melbourne on 14 June 1916.
  • Was a commissioner on Swan Hill Waterworks trust from about 1914 until June 1917 when, having not attended a meeting since October 1916, his seat was declared vacant and he resigned.
  • Involved with his wife in anti-Labor Returned Soldiers’ and Citizens’ Political Federation (1919-1920).
  • Seems to have separated from Amy in the 1920s and was a builder, living in Melbourne with Mary Ethel until his death.

Additional Resources

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Whitham, John (1873–1943)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


September, 1873
Addington, Yorkshire, England


5 July, 1943 (aged 69)
Coburg, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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.

Military Service
Key Organisations
Political Activism