Archibald StewartPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Graeme Saunders

The headstone on the grave commemorates the services of Archibald Stewart to the trade union movement and the Australian Labor Party.

Archibald Stewart grew up in Creswick, Victoria where his father became caretaker of the botanical gardens. In his early working years Archibald took numerous jobs, from mining in the Creswick district to selling groceries at Ballarat. As an active member of several labour organizations, he faced an employers' blacklist which made it difficult for him to find permanent employment.  He was an early member of the Australian Workers' Union and, until 1910, its delegate on the Ballarat Trades and Labor Council.

He helped to establish the Ballarat branch of the Political Labor Council, serving as secretary in 1905-06. His considerable organizing skills were obvious to party officials during James Scullin`s unsuccessful campaign against Alfred Deakin at the 1906 election.  He stood as Labor candidate for the Legislative Assembly seat of Ballarat East in 1908, but was defeated by the Liberal R. McGregor; in 1910 he was narrowly beaten for the Federal seat of Grampians.  

After moving to Melbourne, Stewart was elected senior vice-president of the Political Labor Council in 1910 and appointed full-time secretary in 1911 and he worked in a diligent and methodical way to consolidate the Labor Party organization in Victoria and, by 1914, was acknowledged as one of the 'powers behind the throne' of the Fisher government. His influence was recognized by his appointment as secretary of the newly established Australian Labor Party federal executive in 1915, a post he held until 1925.

His staunch adherence to Labor principles led him to play a leading role in organizing opposition to W. M. Hughes`s conscriptionist policy in 1916-17. Drawing on the experience of more than twenty State and Federal conferences, he conducted some of the delicate negotiations that helped to keep the industrial and political wings of the labour movement together when they threatened to split over the issue of syndicalism and the socialist objective in 1919-21. 

At Coburg (V.) Cemetery last Saturday afternoon, in the presence of a large gathering of representatives of the political and industrial wings of the Labor Movement, a tribute was paid to the memory of the late Arch. Stewart by the unveiling of a monument bearing the following words: "From the Labor Movement, in grateful remembrance of Arch. Stewart, General Secretary of the A.L.P., who died on May 29, 1925. Fidelity and faithful service."  Mr. C. Crofts, who unveiled the monument, said that if their late comrade were living today he would be just as conspicuous in the forefront of the struggle for the cause for which they all were proud to give their time and service. He had been engaged in a great work, and they should be inspired by his example. Mr. G. Prendergast, M.L.A., said the late Archibald Stewart, whose death occurred in May, 1925, was true to his beliefs and a trusted friend. That ceremony was a complete and affectionate hand shake, expressive of the love and regard felt by those who had known him well. He had struggled for the uplift of the great mass of the people, and his devotion should be an inspiration to them. They should feel that they were being strengthened and their cause solidified by the association.  Cr. W. J. Duggan, Senator Barnes, Mr. F. Keane, M.L.A., Mr. E. Grayndler, A.W.U., Mr. R. Solly, M.L.A., and Mr. D. L. McNamara, M.L.C., added their tributes.
Australian Worker (Sydney), 8 December 1926.


Address:Bell Street, Coburg Cemetery, Coburg, 3058
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.742286
Long: 144.984325
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 3rd December, 1926
Front Inscription

Erected by the Labor Movement in grateful remembrance of Arch Stewart J. P.

General Secretary Australian Labor Party. 

Died 29th May 1925.

Fide Et Finucine Serviet.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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