Tom EdwardsPrint Page Print this page

15-May-2013 (Bryan Hardy)
15-May-2013 (Bryan Hardy)

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson / Bryan Hardy

The fountain commemorates Tom Edwards who died in a union riot. The fountain was originally unveiled at the Fremantle Trades Hall in 1919.

Fremantle in 1919 was the scene of an extraordinarily violent riot. Western Australia was isolated by a seamen`s strike and an outbreak of the deadly influenza virus. In the potentially explosive ‘Battle of the Barricades’ riot on Fremantle Wharf on 4 May 1919.

Hal Colebatch, who had taken over from Lefroy as Western Australian Premier just the previous month, had intervened in the dispute over the unloading of the coastal trading ship " SS Dimboola" and violence escalated when members of the Fremantle Lumpers Union threw missiles and stones from Fremantle wharf at launches carrying the Premier and labourers who were planning to erect barricades to allow National Waterside Workers Union members to unload the ship.

Police retaliated with missiles and bayonets, shots were fired and a tense stand-off with sporadic violence ensued. There was the added danger that soldiers on the troopship "Khyber", which had just entered the harbour, might be drawn in to support the Lumpers Union .The riot became know as "Bloody Sunday". During the riot Edwards was mortally wounded and died 3 days later giving the union its first martyr.

At the time of his funeral, industry workers throughout the state stopped for 3 minutes reflection. Bill Renton, the union president, with his head still bandaged, led the funeral procession on horseback from Fremantle Trades Hall to the Fremantle Cemetery. His wife and 3 children continued to live in Fremantle after his death and received donations of food from land farmed by the Industrial Workers Union.

A memorial fountain which has been erected to the memory of T. Edwards, who lost his life on the Fremantle Wharf on May 4, will be unveiled at the Fremantle Trades Hall tomorrow Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. A meeting will follow on the Esplanade, when addresses will be delivered by Messrs. Andrew Clementson, W. L. Jones. M.L.A.. and W. Renton.
West Australian (Perth), 6 December 1919.


Address:Adelaide Street, Kings Square, Fremantle, 6160
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.053611
Long: 115.7475
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Fountain
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:04-May-1919
Actual Event End Date:04-May-1919
Artist:Pietro Porcelli


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 7th December, 1919
Front Inscription

This memorial fountain was erected to the memory of comrade Tom Edwards.

Working Class martyr.

Who sacrificed his life on the Fremantle Wharf on Sunday May, 4th 1919. 

"Greater love hath no man."


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