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David (Di) Williams (1861–1951)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

This entry is from People Australia

David ‘Di’ Williams (1861-1951) coalminer, gaoled trade union leader

Birth: 22 April 1861 at Forest Creek, Victoria, son of William Williams (1829-1890), collier, and Hannah ‘Ann’, née Williams (1831-1903). Both parents had been born in Glamorgan, Wales, and arrived in Melbourne aboard the Marian Moore in December 1854. Marriage: 29 October 1881 at Lambton, NSW, to Jane Bullerwell (born in Durham, England) by a Congregational minister. They had six daughters (one died in infancy) and one son. Death: 5 July 1951 in a private hospital at Paddington, Sydney, NSW. Cremated. Religion: Congregational? Or Primitive Methodist (like his father).

  • Came to Newcastle about 1871 with his parents and siblings. Worked in the Lambton colliery as a trapper boy then as a wheeler in New Lambton before “going on the coal” there.
  • From 1881 lived at the Glebe, near Hamilton, Newcastle, where he raised his family.
  • From 1885 to 1919 Williams was a suburban correspondent for the Newcastle Morning Herald.
  • In 1909, when he represented the Shortland miners’s lodge on the miners’ delegate board, he and twelve other men were charged, under the Industrial Disputes Act, with inciting a strike and fined by Judge Charles Heydon £100, or two months imprisonment. All refused to pay the fine and were gaoled. Williams surrendered to the police on 4 March 1910 and was taken to East Maitland gaol on 8 March. He was released after only four weeks without explanation.
  • For thirteen years he worked at the government quarry at Waratah obtaining stone for the breakwater extension at Nobbys. After retiring in 1919 he moved to live in Bondi, Sydney.
  • He had joined the Independent Order of Oddfellows in 1879, and the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows in 1883.
  • On a return visit to Newcastle in the 1940s he called on his old comrade, and gaoled trade unionist, Amram Lewis.

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Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Williams, David (Di) (1861–1951)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


22 April, 1861
Forest Creek, Victoria, Australia


5 July, 1951 (aged 90)
Paddington, Sydney, New South Wales, 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.

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