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Arthur Rae Arthur Rae i(A95933 works by)
Born: Established: 14 Mar 1860 Christchurch, Canterbury, South Island,
New Zealand,
Pacific Region,
; Died: Ceased: 25 Nov 1943 Liverpool, Liverpool area, Sydney Southwest, Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: 1889
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Rae was the son of Charles Joseph Rae, painter and glazier, and his wife Anne Elizabeth nee Beldan. His father, a union official, played an important role in the 1890 railway strike in New Zealand. Rae was educated at Blenheim Public School, had training as a mechanic and later worked as a shearer and labourer, joining the Amalgamated Shearers' Union of Australasia on its establishment in 1886. He moved to Australia in 1889 and organised for the shearers' union. In 1890 he was charged under the Masters and Servants Act (1857) and sentenced to imprisonment for bringing the Riverina shearers out in support of the maritime strike and refusing to pay the alternative fines. The NSW government released him after one month. In 1891 he stimulated the Wagga branch to produce a union newspaper, the Hummer, that in 1893 became the Australian Worker. In 1895 Rae became President of the Australian Workers' Union and secretary in 1898-1899. Rae was one of the first labor members returned to the NSW Legislative Assembly in 1891, winning the electorate of Murrumbidgee but losing it in 1894. He stood in a number of elections but was not again successful until he was elected to the Senate in 1910 but lost again in 1914. By this time he had moved from the Riverina, becoming a fruit-grower north of Sydney.

Rae's radical socialism gradually evolved into Labor populism and nationalism. He was influenced towards progressive views on women's issues by Rose Scott (q.v.) and had some impact on Federal Labor's 1914 domestic reforms. During World War I Rae moved back in a radical direction. In 1916 he moved the anti-conscription motion at the April 1916 NSW Labor Party Conference and supported the 'breakaway' One Big Union in 1919, resulting in his exclusion from further office in the A.W.U. Rae turned to journalism , wrote for the Labor Daily and supported J. T. Lang (q.v.). Critical of the arbitration system, Rae supported attempts by communists and militants to establish a separate pastoral union in the early 1930s. He returned to the Senate 1928-1935 and joined the breakaway Lang Labor group.

In 1892 Rae had married English born Annie Fryer and had six sons and daughters. Three sons served in the Australian Imperial Force and only one survived. In 1909 Rae wrote a pamphlet, Rae and Royalty : an account and justification of what happened in '92 and during World War I he wrote a one page 'Poem' on strikebreakers (1917).

(Source: Adapted from Frank Farrell, 'Rae, Arthur Edward George (1860 - 1943)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, MUP, 1988, pp 323-324; Harry Knowles, 'Arthur Rae : a 'Napoleon' in Exile', Labour History 87 (November 2004): 103-121)

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Last amended 22 Nov 2013 14:45:43
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