Saturday, April 03, 2010

Chummy Fleming & what he did for humanity

April 3, 1863, birth of Chummy Fleming (John Fleming; d. January 25, 1950), English-born (Derby) pioneer unionist, agitator for the unemployed, and anarchist in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He enjoyed a good relationship with the Governor-General, John Adrian Louis Hope, 7th Earl of Hopetoun, who lent him money to build a house, which Chummy duly called 'Hopetoun'.

'Chummy' (the nickname at the time meant 'English') Fleming was instrumental in starting May Day celebrations and marches in Melbourne, some of the first in the world. He was a member of the Melbourne Anarchist Club which formed on May 1, 1886, the first formal anarchist organization in Australia, and there became friends with Sam Rosa and the remarkable Jack Andrews. In 1899, he was elected to the Trades Hall Eight Hours Day committee and to the executive of Trades Hall Council. He was President of the Fitzroy Political Labor League, the forerunner to an Australian Labor Party branch. For more than fifty years, he was a regular speaker at the Queens Wharf and Yarra Bank speakers corners on Sundays. In 1889, Fleming helped form a Melbourne lodge of the Knights of Labor in Melbourne.

From 1901, an interesting friendship developed between Chummy Fleming and Lord Hopetoun, Australia's first Governor-General. In May 1901, Fleming protested unemployment in Melbourne by rushing onto the Prince's Bridge to halt the Governor-General's carriage. Hopetoun told the police not to interfere and listened to Fleming put the case for the unemployed. Out of this encounter came a friendship which endured after Hopetoun returned to England in July 1902. While in Australia, he is said to have visited Chummy's house at 6 Argyle Place, Carlton, which was built with money he lent to Chummy, the house bearing the name 'Hopetoun' when completed (since demolished). According to some reports, Hopetoun is credited with pressuring the government to speed up government work projects.

Chummy and famous anarchists
In 1907, according to American anarchist Emma Goldman's autobiography, Living My Life, Chummy invited Goldman to tour Australia and had raised money for her fare ...

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted

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