• Date: 01/05/2011
  • Cemetery: Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery
Founders of the trade union movement were remembered at Coburg Cemetery's May Day Heritage Walk. Chair of The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust's Community Advisory Committee, Jan Penney says "Many Victorian's don't realise that some of the key founders of the trade union movement are buried here in Coburg" The tour, led by Catherine Turnbull - secretary of the Federation of Australian Cemetery Friends, discovered the amazing stories of fourteen prominent politicians and trade union leaders. One of the most fascinating people buried there is William Spence. William Spence was a Scottish immigrant with no formal schooling. He was a tea-totaller, who started his working life as a gold minor at the age of 14, and went on to found the Australian Workers Union in 1894. "In Coburg there is a rich tradition of working class heroes. May Day was chance for us to remember those people who helped shape our lives," said Ms Penney. Across the north, east and west of Melbourne, cemeteries managed by the Trust contain many memorials to people who shaped Melbourne. Photos available on request. Download a PDF copy of the media release here