Francis Burdett DixonPrint Page Print this page

The monument over the grave, commemorates Trade Unionist, Francis Burdett Dixon (1836-1884). 

From 1869 to 1871 Dixon was secretary and the most enterprising member of the Eight Hour System Extension League. He assessed the limitations of the league`s objectives and on 13 October 1870 said that he `very much wished to see a better organization in the form of a Trades Council`. The New South Wales Trades and Labor Council was founded in May 1871. Dixon served as delegate in 1872-82 and was several times president and secretary. From this wider platform he quickly became the spearhead of the labour movement in the 1870s. He fought particularly for the eight-hour day and after failing on a council deputation to persuade John Sutherland, minister for public works, that railway workers should have it, Dixon perceived that direct political pressure should complement labour`s industrial action.

On the death of Mr. Francis B. Dixon, on the 7th of April last, the members of the various trades organisations in New South Wales lost one of their most prominent representatives (says the S. D. Telegraph). Gifted beyond many of his fellows, Mr. Dixon had used his powers, in the midst of adverse circumstances, to advance the interests of those amongst whom his lot was cast. Through their exertions the strong bond of Trade Unionism was cemented, of which the chief outcome were the raising of wages and lessening the hours of labour. It was felt that the efforts of such a man deserved more than passing acknowledgement, and the Trade Societies promptly set to work, contributing liberally to the wants of Mr. Dixon's family, and spending some £870 in the erection of a handsome monument of stone to his memory. On Saturday afternoon last a number of representatives from the Trades and Labour Council, the Trades' Hall Committee, and the Eight-hours' Committee, with others, met in the Necropolis, Rookwood, to take part in publicly unveiling the memorial stone to their late colleague. In the absence of Mr. Angus Cameron, M.P., Mr. D. O'Connor, M.P., unveiled the stone, and in doing so said that he was present at the invitation of the Trades and Labour Council, and in the capacity of a private citizen, and as one who admired the life and labours of the late Mr. Dixon.

Mr. Talbot related the circumstances connected with the erection of the monument, and paid a tribute of praise to Mr. M'Kew of Balmain, the sculptor, for the excellence of his work, which, with him had been a labour of love and not of money. The memorial is placed in the Church of England cemetery, Rookwood, and is constructed of Pyrmont freestone. It stands 18 feet 4 inches high, 3 feet square at the bottom, and consists of two bases, with a die cap, and obelisk. Arched pediments cover the cap, which bears in front a representation of clasped hands, and behind, a bundle of sticks fastened together, symbolising the strength of union. The moulding is very rich and all the gold lettering very cleanly cut. On the obelisk is placed the following inscription:-"Erected by the Societies affiliated to the Trades and Labour Council as a mark of esteem for their late president, Francis Burdett Dixon. He spent his life in the cause of Trades' Unions." Mr. Ferrier designed the monument, and Mr. C. M'Kew, of Balmain, creditably fulfilled all the requirements of its execution. 
Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW), 
24 September 1884.


Address:Hawthorne Avenue, Zone B Anglican Section G Grave 1051, Rookwood Necropolis, Rookwood, 2141
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.874722
Long: 151.058333
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People
Designer:Mr. Ferrier
Artist:Mr. C. McKew


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 20th September, 1884
Front Inscription

Erected by the Societies affiliated to the Trades and Labour Council as a mark of esteem for their late President, Francis Burdett Dixon.

He spent his life in the cause of Trades' Unions.

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