William Charles Angwin(1863-1944)

William Charles Angwin was born in St. Just in Penwith, Cornwall, England on the 8th of May, 1863, to tin miner Benjamin, and his wife Mary (nee Taylor), who died in William’s infancy. (reference) Raised and educated in the Methodist religion, at the age of 17 (1881) he became apprenticed to a carpenter. Perhaps sparking his interest in public service he left Cornwall in 1882 to work as a builder in Cumberland (now Cumbria) where he joined social reform movements and worked for the temperance cause (advocating abstinence from alcohol). (reference)

In 1884, in Whitehaven, he married Sarah Ann Sumpton. They had four children: Benjamin, Elizabeth, Mary and Justus. (reference) The Angwins migrated to Victoria in 1886, and in 1892 moved to Western Australia where he worked. (reference)

Angwin was a founding member of the East Fremantle Municipal Council (established/gazetted in 1897) and served as mayor from 1902 until 1904 when he was elected, then re-elected in 1906 after a controversial loss in 1905, to represent the seats of East Fremantle and North-East Fremantle as a member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly for the Labor Party. With a Labor victory for the State in 1911 he was selected to serve as an honorary cabinet member and eventually became Deputy Premier (a role formally established in 1955) to Phillip Collier after the 1924 elections. During the same period he served on the management boards for the Fremantle Public Hospital, Fremantle Municipal Tramway, and Electric Lighting, and the War Patriotic Fund for W.A. (1910 - 1926). (reference)

He resigned from the Legislative Assembly, and State Cabinet, in April of 1927 to become Western Australia’s Agent-General in London for six years - described as “...the only dyed-in-the-wool Laborite who has ever represented the State in London.” Near the end of his service as Agent-General, in 1933, he was appointed to the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG: Companion of St. Michael and St. George). (reference)

In 1921 he was appointed to a royal commission on lunacy, in 1935 and 1938 he chaired two royal commissions on wheat, and in 1936 he presided over the Rural Relief Trust. (reference)

His home at 3 Glyde St, East Fremantle became known as ‘Angwin House’.

Angwin died at the age of 81, on 9 June, 1944 at his home in East Fremantle, and was buried in the Methodist section of Fremantle Cemetery. His wife had passed three years earlier, on the 9th of April, 1941.  A street near the East Fremantle council chambers is named after him. (reference)

Thomas Bath described him as a man who “... had ordinary abilities but got places because of his tremendous diligence and application.” (reference)

This article has been researched and partly written by Sam Burke for www.streetsofeastfreo