Politics and Unions

Politics – Henry Thomas Hicks

1887 – April – Henry Thomas Hicks on Executive Committee of the Bulli Mine Disaster Relief Fund

Henry Thomas Hicks was reported as declared elected to the Borough of North Illawarra Council in the Australian Town and Country Journal of October 8 1887. he did not contest the 1891 elections.

In August 1889 Henry was one of a number of locals to push for the incorporation of Bulli and Woonona (ie to create a Bulli Shire Council).

A branch of the Free Trade Association was established in Bulli in April 1890 and Henry Thomas Hicks was elected to its Committee – also includes reference to support for Francis Woodward remaining in political life.

In 1891 Henry was appointed Trustee for Bulli Park – possibly Slacky Flat  ?

1893 – Easter Meeting – Henry elected as Warden of St Augustine’s Bulli

May 1898 – Large Public Meeting about the Constitution was held in Bulli where Henry Thomas Hicks presided

August 1898 Banquet Dinner for defeated Woronora candidate at Dicksons Hotel – Captain Hicks JP in the Chair – attended by large number of influential townsmen

1900 Henry Hicks was lobbying for a postal, telegraph, money order and telephone office in Thirroul.

Politics – Alexander Henry Hicks – son of Henry Thomas Hicks & Grandson of James Hicks

And involvement in politics in the Hicks family continued, as Henry’s son Alexander Henry Hicks nominated for the position of Auditorat the Municipal elections for the North Ward of North Illawarra in Sydney Morning Herald of 26 January 1898. It is uncertain if he was successful in his 1898 bid, however he was elected as an Alderman for Central Ward of North Illawarra Council in 1889. He was also elected as Mayor of North Illawarra Council in 1905. However, whilst Henry had been a farmer, Alex had become a Coal Miner, and would rise from being Corrimal Miners Lodge Delegate to become the Miners Federation President in the Southern Districts. Alexander Henry Hicks seems to have followed in the footsteps of his father Henry Thomas Hicks – very involved in local politics of North Illawarra Council and in the community. Henry Thomas Hicks was an Alderman for North Ward of the North Illawarra Council (1887-1891), and Alexander Hicks was later elected as an Alderman for the Central Ward of the same Council in 1899. Prominent Illawarra Colliery Mining Manager Jacob Carlos Jones was also elected in 1899, representing the Corrimal Progress Assocation. Alexander Hicks would also become Mayor of Northern Illawarra Council. However, whilst Henry had been a farmer, Alex had become a Coal Miner, and would rise from being Corrimal Miners Lodge Delegate to become the Miners Federation President in the Southern Districts.

Old North Illawarra Council Building in Fairy Meadow - now private offices.

Old North Illawarra Council Chambers Building in Fairy Meadow – now private offices.

Ultimately the North Bulli Shire Council, that Henry and Alexander had lobbied for over so many years, was not very long-lived. In 1947 the councils would be merged to form the City of Greater Wollongong Council.

Politics – Alexander Cook – husband of Mary Alice “Biddy” Cook – Daughter of Henry Thomas Hicks

Alexander Cook was a councillor of Tintenbar Shire since 1923, until his death in 1933.

Politics – Kerrie Anne Christian – Great Great Granddaughter of Henry Thomas Hicks & Great Great Great Granddaughter of James Hicks

And many years later, in 1989, Henry Thomas Hicks’ great great granddaughter, Kerrie Anne Christian (nee Adams), stood on a “community-residents” platform was narrowly defeated in a city wide by-election of Wollongong City Council in a ballot of over 100,000 voters. Subsequently she was successful in Ward One elections in 1991, 1995 and 1995, but did not contest the 2004 elections. In total Kerrie served a total of over 12 years on Wollongong City Council.

Yet another of Henry’s Great Great Granddaughters had also dabbled in ALP politics for a time, but the in end chose not to pursue seeking elected office in the Shellharbour Council.

Politics – John Campbell Hicks – Son of Richard Hicks  & Grandson of James Hicks

A dairyman who represented C Riding in Gundarimba Shire Council for 3 years including 1926 – near Lismore – council merged with Terania and Lismore Councils in 1977

Unions – Alexander Henry Hicks

In the Illawarra there is an overlap of those who are active in both the union movement and local government issues as well. So it is not a surprise that Alexander Henry Hicks, of Corrimal (Mine or Branch) was also for a time President of the Illawarra Miners Employees Association in 190319041905 and 1906.  He spoke at the unveiling of the Memorial of the Mt Kembla Disaster – reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on 14 Aug 1905 : “Mr. A. H. Hicks, president of the Illawarra Miners Association and Mayor of North Illawarra, said that with the aid of the memorial unveiled that day the deeds of Major MacCabe and W. M’Murray would be enshrined in the  memory of the miners of Illawarra for alltime. As Mayor, Alexander Hicks mentioned the names of Sub-inspector Banks, Messrs J. A. Beatson andF. Bevan as standing out most prominently  in the work of raising relief for the unfortunate relatives of the miners who had met such untimely and awful deaths.”

Alexander was reported in the media in relation to a number of union matters in the mining industry :

  • January1900 – Sydney Coal Conference between Mine Owners and Miners Delegates – A Hicks attended as Corrimal Delegate
  • February 1900 – Hewing Rates meeting – A Hicks attended as representative
  • March 1900 – A Hicks elected as  Illawarra District Miners Auditor from Corrimal
  • April 1900
  • October 1900 – Hewing Rates – A Hicks attended as Corrimal Delegate
  • November 1900 – more on Hewing Rates – A Hicks attended as Delegate
  • Coledale Mine issue 1904 with Coledale Mine Manager Thomas Cater – retrenchments – last on & first off
  • March 1904 – Illawarra Colliery Employees  Gala Day – A Hicks president
  • Jan 1905 – A Hicks re-elected as PresidentIllawarra Coal Employees Association
  • 1905 – 15 April Sydney Morning Herald reported  Quarterly Meeting of the Illawarra Collieries Employee Association – more – covering Metropolitan Helensburgh, North Bulli, Woonona
  • June 1906 – A Hicks was then President and resigned his position to seek election as District Secretary
  • October 1906 –  A Hicks as President at meeting to decide if there would be a stoppage at South Bulli mine
  • November 1906 – A Hicks a delegate of Southern Collieries Employees Association at Meeting of Conciliation with mine owners
  • 1907 District President – Coal Trade Industrial Agreement proposal
  • February 1907 – A Hicks elected as Auditor for Corrimal Miners Lodge
  • July 1911 – A Hicks unsuccessful bid to be elected as a Representative to Southern Collieries Wages Board
  • March 1914 – A Hicks elected as President of Mount Pleasant Miners Lodge

Unions – Arthur Frederick Webb

Henry’s son-in-law, Arthur Frederick ( A F) Webb, and Alexander’s brother-in-law was not directly involved in electoral politics. However as an elected  representative on the NSW Master Builders Association, including a stint as President, during the years of 1937-1951, Arthur did at times become embroiled in political dialogues. Most notable was at the time of Federal Parliament Communist Party Dissolution Bill of 1950. The Federal ALP were pushing to ban Communist Party members from being allowed to be officials in trade unions. Uncle Arthur, with his MBA representative’s hat on, felt that anything that ensured stability in the building game was a good thing. So far nothing has been uncovered to indicate that publically he had said anything really rabid on the subject, or called for the total outlawing of the Communist Party.

Unions – Kerrie Anne Christian

And, like her Great Great Uncle Alexander McKenzie, Kerrie Anne Christian was not only an elected Local Government Alderman/Councillor, but she had also been involved in the Union Movement – as Committee Member and then NSW President of the white collar union, the Association of Professional Scientists of Australia  in 1987. She continued on until 1991-92, remaining as NSW President of Professional Scientists of Australia, after the mergers which created APESMA – Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia. Kerrie was also the APSA/APESMA Scientists Delegate to the South Coast Labour Council, where she became for a time, a member of the Executive and of the Disputes Committee.  

Another great great granddaughter of Henry Thomas Hicks is also actively involved in the Teachers Federation in the Sydney Region.

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