- SPENCE, William Guthrie (1846-1926)
- Labour leader and politicianwas born in the Orkney Islands in 1846, and was brought to Victoria in 1853. His family went to the country and at an early age Spence was helping to earn his living. At 12 years of age he was with a co-operative party of miners, and at 17 he was employed as a butcher. In later years he worked in the mines at Ballarat, and in 1878 was one of the organizers and secretary of a miners' union at Creswick. He was engaged in organizing miners' unions throughout Australia for some years, and in 1882 became general secretary of the Amalgamated Miners' Association. In 1886 an attempt by station owners to reduce the amount paid for shearing sheep from £1 to 17/6 a hundred led to the organization of the Amalgamated Shearers' Union. Spence became treasurer of the new movement and insisted that the union must ignore all political boundaries. Organizers were sent out and in 1887 the struggle began between the owners and the shearers which was to last many years. Spence afterwards claimed that the policy of the union from its inception was conciliation. Certainly the circular sent to the station owners in February 1888, could hardly have been more reasonable. It was asked that a conference should be held between representatives of the union and of the owners, but very few of the latter took any notice of the circular and none attended the proposed conference. The struggle went on with varying fortunes but at a conference held with the New South Wales owners in August 1891 the shearers practically succeeded in obtaining their terms.In the maritime strike of 1890 and the Queensland shearers' strike of 1891 Spence was a prominent figure, and though the financial depression which followed increased the difficulties of the unions on account of the large number of unemployed, some progress was made. He was president of the Australian Workers' Union for many years, and in 1898 was elected a member of the New South Wales legislative assembly for Cobar. In 1901 he was elected for Darling in the federal house of representatives and held the seat until 1917. He was a member of the select committee on shipping services in 1905, was postmaster-general in the third Fisher (q.v.) ministry from September 1914 to October 1915, and vice-president of the executive council in W. M. Hughes's ministry from November 1916 to February 1917. With Hughes and others he was ejected from the Labour party in 1916 on the conscription issue. He was a Nationalist candidate at the 1917 general election and was defeated, but came in for Darwin, Tasmania, at a by-election in the following June. He retired from that seat in 1919, and stood for Batman, Victoria, but was defeated. He died at Terang, Victoria, on 13 December 1926. He married and was survived by his wife and several children. He was the author of two books, Australia's Awakening—Thirty Years in the Life of an Australian Agitator (1909), and History of the A.W.U. (1911). Both give an interesting, but somewhat one-sided view of social conditions in Australia at the end of the nineteenth century.Spence has been called the "mildest-mannered man that ever ran a strike". It was ironical that one who had worked so hard and done so much for the Labour movement should have been cast out of it, but Spence was comparatively philosophical because he considered that the battle had practically been won.The Argus and The Age, Melbourne, 14 December 1926; The Bulletin, 16 December 1926. W. G. Spence, History of the A.W.U., and Australia's Awakening; Commonwealth Parliamentary Handbook, 1926.
Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. Angus and Robertson. 1949.
Look at other dictionaries:
William Spence — William Guthrie Spence (7 August 1846 13 December 1926), Australian trade union leader and politician, played a leading role in the formation of both Australia s largest union, the Australian Workers Union, and the Australian Labor Party.Early… … Wikipedia
Spence — /spɛns/ (say spens) noun 1. Bruce, born 1945, Australian film, television and stage actor born in NZ; noted for films Stork (1971) and Mad Max II (1982). 2. Catherine Helen, 1825–1910, Australian writer and social reformer, born in Scotland;… … Australian English dictionary
Eday — Infobox Scottish island | GridReference=HY560338 celtic name=N/A norse name=Eiðey meaning of name= Old Norse for isthmus island area=2,745 ha area rank=31 highest elevation=Ward Hill 101 m Population=121 population rank=41 main… … Wikipedia
Эдей — остров Эдей, Оркнейские острова Оркнейские острова выделены темным синим Координаты: Координаты … Википедия
Спенс Уильям Гатри — (Spence, William Guthrie) (1846 1926), австрал. профсоюзный и полит, деятель. Участвовал в создании неск. профсоюзов, в т.ч. Объединенного профсоюза стригалей Австралазии (1886) и Союза рабочих Австралии (1894). С. являлся президентом первого из… … Всемирная история
List of Scots — is an incomplete list of notable people from Scotland. This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it. Contents 1 Actors 2 Architects 3 Artists … Wikipedia
List of people from Kent — List of notable residents of the county of Kent in England. Persons are grouped by occupation and listed in order of birth. Kent is defined by its current boundaries.Politicians, statesmen and lawyers*John Scott of Scott s Hall (–1485) – Lord… … Wikipedia
List of people from Tunbridge Wells — Tunbridge Wells is a town in Kent, England. The following is a list of those people who were either born or live(d) in Tunbridge Wells, or had some important contribution to make to the town. As a spa town Tunbridge Wells was a popular resort for … Wikipedia