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BEST, Sir Robert Wallace (1856–1946)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1901–10 (Protectionist)</span>

BEST, Sir Robert Wallace (1856–1946)
Senator for Victoria, 1901–10 (Protectionist)

Robert Wallace Best, described as ‘one of those excitable, exclamatory, vehement, enthusiastic men who continually give off heat like radium’, was born at Collingwood, Victoria, on 18 June 1856. His father, also Robert Best, was a farmer who became a customs officer; his mother was Jane, née Wallace. Both parents were Irish-born. The younger Robert Best was educated at the Templeton School in Fitzroy,

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CAMERON, Cyril St Clair  (1857–1941)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1901–03, 1907–13 (Protectionist; Anti-Socialist Party)</span>

CAMERON, Cyril St Clair (1857–1941)
Senator for Tasmania, 1901–03, 1907–13 (Protectionist; Anti-Socialist Party)

Cyril St Clair Cameron, army officer and farmer, came from a northern Tasmanian family which produced four parliamentarians. Son of Donald Cameron, MLC, and Mary, née Morrison, he was born on 5 December 1857 at the family property, ‘Fordon’, Nile. Educated in Tasmania and Scotland, Cameron received a second lieutenant’s commission with the Queen’s Royal Lancers in 1879. In 1879–80, he served in Afghanistan,

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CHATAWAY, Thomas Drinkwater (1864–1925)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1907–13 (Anti-Socialist Party)</span>

CHATAWAY, Thomas Drinkwater (1864–1925)
Senator for Queensland, 1907–13 (Anti-Socialist Party)

Thomas Drinkwater Chataway, journalist, protectionist and tireless spokesman for the Queensland sugar industry, was born in Wartling, Sussex, England on 6 April 1864, the fifth son of the Reverend James Chataway of Rotherwick, Hampshire. Thomas was educated at Charterhouse, Godalming, Surrey. In 1881, he followed his older brother, James, to Australia, initially working on the land on the Liverpool Plains in New South Wales.

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CLEMONS, John Singleton (1862–1944)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1901–14 (Free Trade; Anti-Socialist Party; Liberal Party)</span>

CLEMONS, John Singleton (1862–1944)
Senator for Tasmania, 1901–14 (Free Trade; Anti-Socialist Party; Liberal Party)

John Singleton Clemons, lawyer and businessman, was born in Launceston on 24 March 1862, son of John Nicholas and Anne Alicia, née Tucker. John Nicholas was one of eight schoolteachers brought from England to Tasmania in 1855, following the reorganisation of the Tasmanian school system and the establishment of a centralised department of education. Born in Tiverton, Devonshire, and trained as a teacher at

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CROFT, John William (1871–19??)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1904–10 (Labor Party)</span>

CROFT, John William (1871–19??)
Senator for Western Australia, 1904–10 (Labor Party)

John William Croft was born to James Thomas Croft and Annie, née Bassett, on 20 January 1871 in Newcastle, New South Wales, the second of ten children. His grandfather, James, who spelled his name ‘Crofts’, had been transported for life for highway robbery, and after a brief time in Van Diemen’s Land, was sent to Newcastle where he was appointed an overseer in the

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DE LARGIE, Hugh (1859–1947)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1901–23 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party)</span>

DE LARGIE, Hugh (1859–1947)
Senator for Western Australia, 1901–23 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party)

Hugh de Largie, miner and trade union leader, was born on 24 March 1859 in Airdrie, Scotland, the son of Archibald, a coal miner, and his wife Mary, née McLaren. Both parents died when he was young. Educated to primary level only, at St Margaret’s School in Airdrie, de Largie worked in the Lanarkshire mines from the age of ten and later became active

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DOBSON, Henry (1841–1918)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1901–10 (Free Trade; Tariff Reform; Liberal Party)</span>

DOBSON, Henry (1841–1918)
Senator for Tasmania, 1901–10 (Free Trade; Tariff Reform; Liberal Party)

Henry Dobson, lawyer, premier, and federationist, was born at Hobart on 24 December 1841 to John and Kate, née Willis. Henry grew up in a family of lawyers and politicians. His father, a brother and two half-brothers all practised law, and all but the father gained election to either the Tasmanian or Victorian Parliaments. Dobson was educated from the age of nine at The

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FINDLEY, Edward (1864–1947)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1904–17, 1923–29 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

FINDLEY, Edward (1864–1947)
Senator for Victoria, 1904–17, 1923–29 (Australian Labor Party)

Edward Findley, compositor, publisher, trade unionist and company director, wasborn, probably, on 8 September 1864 at Sandhurst, Bendigo, Victoria, to Timothy Findley, engine-driver, and his wife Mary, née Toohey. Both his parents hailed from Ireland, his father from Cork and his mother from Tipperary. In 1876, at the age of twelve, he began a five-year apprenticeship as a compositor, after which he worked on

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FRASER, Sir Simon (1832–1919)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1901–13 (Protectionist; Anti-Socialist Party)</span>

FRASER, Sir Simon (1832–1919)
Senator for Victoria, 1901–13 (Protectionist; Anti-Socialist Party)

Simon Fraser, a successful entrepreneur who became wealthy from dealings in construction, grazing and banking, was a prominent and respected public figure. He was born in Canada, in the town of Pictou, Nova Scotia, on 21 August 1832, the youngest son of a Scottish migrant, William Fraser, a farmer and miller, and his wife Jane, née Fraser. Educated at a local school, Fraser emigrated

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GIVENS, Henry Thomas (1864–1928)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1904–28 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party)</span>

GIVENS, Henry Thomas (1864–1928)
Senator for Queensland, 1904–28 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party)

Henry Thomas Givens, cane-cutter, miner, journalist and President of the Senate for thirteen years, arrived in Australia in 1882. He was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, on 12 June 1864,the son of a farmer, Robert Givens, and his wife, Mary Ann, née White. Once in the Antipodes, young Thomas travelled north to Queensland, where he worked on the cane fields. For a period, he

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GOULD, Sir Albert John (1847–1936)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1901–17 (Free Trade; Anti-Socialist Party; Liberal Party; Nationalist Party)</span>

GOULD, Sir Albert John (1847–1936)
Senator for New South Wales, 1901–17 (Free Trade; Anti-Socialist Party; Liberal Party; Nationalist Party)

In 1936, the then Leader of the Opposition, John Curtin, speaking of Sir Albert Gould, said: ‘I doubt sometimes that the people of Australia to-day really appreciate the importance that belonged to the establishment of the Commonwealth, and the great privilege enjoyed by those who . . . by their public service, sufficiently earned the confidence of the people to justify their return at

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GRAY, John Proctor (1840–1914)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1904–10 (Free Trade)</span>

GRAY, John Proctor (1840–1914)
Senator for New South Wales, 1904–10 (Free Trade)

John Proctor Gray, businessman and federationist, was born in Stonegate, Yorkshire, England, on 1 December 1840, the son of Henry Gray, a joiner and cabinet-maker, and Mary, née Proctor. On 25 April 1865, he married Elizabeth, née Durning, at Christ Church, Southport, England; they had three daughters and three sons. Gray managed several branches of Lever Brothers in England, and in 1888 emigrated to

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GUTHRIE, Robert Storrie (1856–1921)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1903–21 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party)</span>

GUTHRIE, Robert Storrie (1856–1921)
Senator for South Australia, 1903–21 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party)

Robert Storrie Guthrie, seaman and trade unionist, was born at Partick, near Glasgow, Scotland, on 17 November 1856. He was the son of Andrew Guthrie, a joiner, and his wife Elizabeth, née Storrie. He was educated at Glen’s School, Glasgow. At the age of fifteen, Guthrie became a ship’s apprentice. In 1876, he arrived in Australia, only staying a short time before leaving for

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HENDERSON, Christopher George (1857–1933)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1904–23 (Australian Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party)</span>

HENDERSON, Christopher George (1857–1933)
Senator for Western Australia, 1904–23 (Australian Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party)

Christopher George Henderson was born at Bedlington, Northumberland, England, on 19 August 1857, to George Henderson of Rothesay, Scotland, and Jane, née Short. At the time of her son’s birth, Jane could neither read nor write. Christoper George began his working life at the age of eight or nine years as a pony boy in a Northumberland coal mine. At fifteen, he became a

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KEATING, John Henry (1872–1940)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1901–23 (Protectionist; Liberal Party; Nationalist Party)</span>

KEATING, John Henry (1872–1940)
Senator for Tasmania, 1901–23 (Protectionist; Liberal Party; Nationalist Party)

John Henry Keating’s parting wish as he left the Federal Parliament after twenty-two years was that the Senate would ‘fulfil the functions which the founders of the Constitution fondly believed it would fulfil when they gave it its Constitution’.[1] At twenty-nine, Keating had been the youngest member of the first Commonwealth Parliament. According to Punch, in 1906 he was a ‘tall, plump, youthful looking

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LYNCH, Patrick Joseph (1867–1944)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1907–38 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)</span>

LYNCH, Patrick Joseph (1867–1944)
Senator for Western Australia, 1907–38 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)

Patrick Joseph Lynch, shearer, miner, seaman, engine-driver, trade unionist and farmer, was born on 24 May 1867 at Skearke, Moynalty, Kells, County Meath, Ireland, the youngest of eight children, to Michael Lynch, farmer, and his wife Bridget, née Cahill. Patrick’s family had farmed their 17-acre property for several generations. It was here in this close-knit rural community at the Newcastle end of Moynalty parish,

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MACFARLANE, James (1844–1914)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1901–10 (Free Trade)</span>

MACFARLANE, James (1844–1914)
Senator for Tasmania, 1901–10 (Free Trade)

James Macfarlane, shipowner, was born in Glasgow on 2 September 1844, the son of Andrew, a surveyor, and Lillias, née Alexander. James was educated in Glasgow and at the Bruce Castle School near London. He then worked for eight years with Redfern, Alexander and Company, shipowners and merchants of London. His brother John worked in the same firm. In 1870, the brothers migrated to

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McCOLL, James Hiers (1844–1929)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1907–14 (Anti-Socialist Party; Liberal Party)</span>

McCOLL, James Hiers (1844–1929)
Senator for Victoria, 1907–14 (Anti-Socialist Party; Liberal Party)

James Hiers McColl was born in South Shields, County Durham, England, son of Hugh McColl, a printer at the time of James’ birth, and his first wife Jane, née Hiers, on 31 January 1844. McColl arrived in Australia with his family in January 1853, his mother having died on the voyage. The family settled at Bendigo, where his father became a prominent irrigationist and

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McGREGOR, Gregor (1848–1914)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1901–14 (Labor Party)</span>

McGREGOR, Gregor (1848–1914)
Senator for South Australia, 1901–14 (Labor Party)

Gregor McGregor, stonemason, builder’s labourer, trade unionist and first Labor leader of the Senate, was described by a Senate colleague as having ‘a grim, pawky Scottish brand of humour with a certain bad boy flavour about it’.[1]McGregor was born on 18 March 1848, son of Malcolm McGregor, gardener, and his wife Jane, in Kilmun, Argyllshire, Scotland. Gregor spent his childhood in Scotland and County

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MILLEN, Edward Davis (1860–1923)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1901–23 (Free Trade; Anti-Socialist Party; Liberal Party; Nationalist Party)</span>

MILLEN, Edward Davis (1860–1923)
Senator for New South Wales, 1901–23 (Free Trade; Anti-Socialist Party; Liberal Party; Nationalist Party)

As Australia’s first Minister for Repatriation, Edward Millen was a central figure in the establishment of Australia’s repatriation policies and machinery. Born in Deal, Kent, on 7 November 1860, the son of John Bullock Millen, a pilot of the Cinque Ports, and Charlotte, née Davis, he began his working life as an adjuster of marine insurance. Migrating to New South Wales around 1880, Millen

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MULCAHY, Edward (1850–1927)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1904–10, 1919–20 (Protectionist; Nationalist Party)</span>

MULCAHY, Edward (1850–1927)
Senator for Tasmania, 1904–10, 1919–20 (Protectionist; Nationalist Party)

Edward Mulcahy, draper, was born in Limerick, Ireland, on 28 March 1850, one of a large family born to James Mulcahy, blacksmith, and Mary Anne, née McMahon. The Mulcahys arrived in Tasmania in June 1854, where James worked as a mechanic for the Hobart engineering firm of Davidson and Clark, while the young Edward became friends with Clark’s son, the future federationist, Andrew Inglis

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NEEDHAM, Edward (1874–1956)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1907–20, 1923–29 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

NEEDHAM, Edward (1874–1956)
Senator for Western Australia, 1907–20, 1923–29 (Australian Labor Party)

Edward (Ted) Needham was born at Ormskirk in Lancashire, probably on 30 September 1874. His parents were Patrick Needham, a labourer, and Margaret, née Fahy, both of Irish Roman Catholic background. Ted Needham was very short of stature. During his years in the Senate, he and another Labor senator, Arthur Rae, used to ridicule each other’s lack of height. Once, when asked by a

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NEILD, John Cash (1846–1911)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1901–10 (Free Trade)</span>

NEILD, John Cash (1846–1911)
Senator for New South Wales, 1901–10 (Free Trade)

John Cash Neild was born in the prosperous English port city of Bristol on 4 January 1846 to a surgeon of the same name and his wife Maria, née Greenwood, the daughter of a banker. In 1853, the family migrated to New Zealand, but the resurgence of war with the Maori led them to move to Sydney in 1860. Young Neild began work with

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PEARCE, Sir George Foster (1870–1952)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1901–38 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)</span>

PEARCE, Sir George Foster (1870–1952)
Senator for Western Australia, 1901–38 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)

Sir George Foster Pearce, carpenter and trade union leader, was born on 14 January 1870 at Mount Barker, South Australia, one of ten children of James Pearce, a blacksmith who had emigrated from Cornwall, and his wife Jane, née Foster, of London. He left school at eleven and became a farm worker, but after several unhappy years on the land, he began a carpentry

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PULSFORD, Edward (1844–1919)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1901–10 (Free Trade)</span>

PULSFORD, Edward (1844–1919)
Senator for New South Wales, 1901–10 (Free Trade)

Edward Pulsford does not leap out of Hansard as one of the most exciting of senators. At first sight, the only claim one can make to establish Pulsford’s notoriety is that throughout his political career he was a staunch advocate of free trade. But by any measure, Edward Pulsford’s contribution to Australian public life was noticeable. In many ways, he aspired to the model

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RUSSELL, Edward John (1878–1925)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1907–25 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist)</span>

RUSSELL, Edward John (1878–1925)
Senator for Victoria, 1907–25 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist)

Socialist firebrand and federal minister, Edward John Russell, was born on 10 August 1878 at Warrnambool, Victoria, the son of Joseph Russell, a baker born in Ireland, and his wife, Melbourne-born Mary Frances, née Conway. Russell arrived in Melbourne with his family in 1890, during the great maritime strike, and was educated at Newport State School and St Mary’s Roman Catholic school at Williamstown.

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RUSSELL, William (1842–1912)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1907–12 (Labor Party)</span>

RUSSELL, William (1842–1912)
Senator for South Australia, 1907–12 (Labor Party)

Known for his ‘rugged native eloquence’, William Russell, a ‘practical farmer’, came to the South Australian and Commonwealth parliaments through his empathy with the farming communities of South Australia and his consequent involvement in rural politics. He was born in Glassford, Lanarkshire, Scotland, on 20 October 1842. That his father’s name was Matthew Russell is all that is known of his parents, who died

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SAYERS, Robert John (1845–1919)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1907–13 (Anti-Socialist Party)</span>

SAYERS, Robert John (1845–1919)
Senator for Queensland, 1907–13 (Anti-Socialist Party)

Robert John Sayers, a distinguished-looking Queensland miner, once mistaken for a bushranger, was born on 27 January 1845 at St Lawrence on the Isle of Wight, the son of James Alexander Sayers, a coast guard officer, and his wife, Emma, née Gover. Sayers’ education took place in schools at Cowes and in London before he arrived in Queensland about 1863. He became involved in

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ST LEDGER, Anthony James Joseph (1859–1929)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1907–13 (Anti-Socialist Party)</span>

ST LEDGER, Anthony James Joseph (1859–1929)
Senator for Queensland, 1907–13 (Anti-Socialist Party)

Anthony James Joseph St Ledger, educationalist, who was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, on 18 February 1859, arrived in Queensland on the Persia on 3 December 1861 with his parents, Michael, a sawyer, and Martha née Waddington, and his brother John and sister Mary. His education took place at St Mary’s Boys’ School, Ipswich, under Rev. J. Breen, followed by some years at St Kilian’s

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STEWART, James Charles (1850–1931)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1901–17 (Labor Party)</span>

STEWART, James Charles (1850–1931)
Senator for Queensland, 1901–17 (Labor Party)

James Charles Stewart, an advocate of Scottish home rule, was born in Gorton, near Grantown‑on‑Spey, Morayshire, Scotland, on 7 September 1850. His father, Angus, was a farmer and blacksmith and his mother was Jessie Cruickshanks. Both lived in Gorton. James Charles attended the parish school until he was twelve, when he began work as a farm labourer. He must have continued some studies for

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STORY, William Harrison (1857–1924)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1904–17 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist)</span>

STORY, William Harrison (1857–1924)
Senator for South Australia, 1904–17 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist)

William Harrison Story, trade unionist, businessman and politician, and son of George and Eliza Story, née Morgan, was born in Mitcham, South Australia on 31 May 1857. Shortly thereafter the family moved to Norton Summit as William’s father, at that time occupied as a gardener, had been commissioned to lay out and plant the grounds of ‘Drysdale’, the home of Thomas Playford. In 1863,

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SYMON, Sir Josiah Henry (1846–1934)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1901–13 (Free Trade; Anti-Socialist Party)</span>

SYMON, Sir Josiah Henry (1846–1934)
Senator for South Australia, 1901–13 (Free Trade; Anti-Socialist Party)

Josiah Henry Symon was born at Wick, Caithness, Scotland, on 27 September 1846, the son of James, a cabinetmaker, and Elizabeth, née Sutherland. Josiah was educated at the Allan’s School, Stirling, the Stirling High School and then inEdinburgh for two years. In 1866, Symon migrated to South Australia and began a legal career, taking articles with his cousin, J. D.  Sutherland, at rural Mount

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TRENWITH, William Arthur (1846–1925)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1904–10 (Independent)</span>

TRENWITH, William Arthur (1846–1925)
Senator for Victoria, 1904–10 (Independent)

William Arthur Trenwith, bootmaker, federal father and the first Independent senator, was born on 15 July 1846 at Launceston, Tasmania. His convict parents, William Trenwith and Beatrice McBarrett, were not wed at the time, but seem to have married by 1850. His father, who came from Penzance, Cornwall, and was transported for life for burglary, arrived in Van Diemen’s Land in 1825; he was

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TURLEY, Joseph Henry Lewis (1859–1929)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1904–17 (Labor Party)</span>

TURLEY, Joseph Henry Lewis (1859–1929)
Senator for Queensland, 1904–17 (Labor Party)

Joseph Henry Lewis (Harry) Turley, wharf labourer, trade unionist and first Labor President of the Senate, was born on 24 April 1859 at Burton St Michael, Gloucester, England, the son of Charles Turley, master shoemaker, and his wife, Agnes (Susan), née Oliver. Harry was educated at Brixham, Devonshire. He went to sea, arriving in Brisbane in 1879, and worked there as a wharf labourer.

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VARDON, Joseph (1843–1913)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1907, 1908–13 (Anti-Socialist Party; Liberal Party)</span>

VARDON, Joseph (1843–1913)
Senator for South Australia, 1907, 1908–13 (Anti-Socialist Party; Liberal Party)

Joseph Vardon, printer, was born on 27 July 1843, in the small South Australian town of Hindmarsh, the eldest son of Ambrose Edward Vardon, a shoemaker, and Elizabeth, née Painter. Joseph’s parents were among the earliest colonists of South Australia having arrived in the colony in 1839. Joseph received his elementary education at Moody’s School in Hindmarsh and James Bath’s school in North Adelaide.

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WALKER, James Thomas (1841–1923)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1901–13 (Free Trade; Anti-Socialist Party)</span>

WALKER, James Thomas (1841–1923)
Senator for New South Wales, 1901–13 (Free Trade; Anti-Socialist Party)

James Thomas Walker, banker, federalist and ‘out-and-out free-trader’, was born on 20 March 1841 in Leith Walk, Midlothian, Scotland, to John William Walker, grazier, and Elizabeth, née Waterston. In 1844, John William moved to Australia with his family, settling on Castlesteads Station, Boorowa, in New South Wales. After four years, he sold the property to Hamilton Hume, the explorer, and the family returned to

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