James R. OliverPrint Page Print this page

The marble tablet erected by the Newcastle and District Trade Union Movement commemorates James Oliver, a prominent worker for the unemployed of Newcastle and district who died in 1937. 

The whole of the unemployed of Newcastle and the Coalfields will sincerely mourn the passing of one of the most outstanding and popular figures in the many campaigns of the unemployed in and throughout the last seven or eight years. Mr. James Oliver, a resident of Wallsend, and President of the Newcastle and Northern District Provincial Council of Unemployed and Relief Workers, died at the week-end, following a breakdown in health some months ago. It is probably no exaggeration to say that indefatigible devotion to the cause which he believed to be the most pressing and deserving in this district — the cause of the unemployed worker — led to overwork and a strain which was bound to tell ultimately on a constitution already affected by war service and years of unemployment, and so contributed to the breakdown in health.

"Jimmy" will be remembered as a prominent figure in the Tighe's Hill Anti-Eviction case, in the West Wallsend relief workers' strike, and in the every-day work of organising the unemployed, and getting the support of all sections of the community on their behalf. His loss is the loss of the unemployed, and of the whole community. There are too few possessing his fire and determination and sincerity. But there are some, and there will be more, and Jimmy Oliver's work has not been in vain. The fruits of his labour in organisation and inspiration to others will ripen and extend. Jimmy was a well-known member of the Communist Party, which will deeply mourn the loss of a devoted and active member. 
Cessnock Eagle and South Maitland Recorder (NSW), 11 June 1937. 

A memorial tablet was set up in the Newcastle Trades Hall today to the late James R. Oliver, who died on June 7, 1937, aged 46 years. The late Mr. Oliver was a prominent worker for the unemployed of Newcastle and district. The memorial has been erected by the Newcastle and District Trade Union Movement. On the memorial, which has a representation of the employed and unemployed shaking hands, with the motto.  "United We Win," are the following lines — "The cause that lacks assistance. The wrongs that need resistance. The future in the distance, And the good that we can do."
Newcastle Sun (NSW), 17 August 1938. 


Address:406-408 King Street, Hunter Unions Building, Newcastle West , 2302
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.928045
Long: 151.766437
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 17th August, 1938
Front Inscription

Employed  United we win  Unemployed

In memory of the late James R. Oliver
Died June 7th 1937, Aged 46 years

The cause that lacks assistance,
The wrongs that need assistance,
The future in the distance, and the good that we can do.

Erected by the Newcastle and District Trade Union Movement

Source: H, MA
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