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ABBOTT, Macartney (1877–1960)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1935–41 (Australian Country Party)</span>

ABBOTT, Macartney (1877–1960)
Senator for New South Wales, 1935–41 (Australian Country Party)

Senator Macartney Abbott believed that ‘if you can raise a man’s thoughts you can raise his achievement’. He argued that by raising the thoughts of all nations ‘you can raise the whole level of humanity and place the feet of the world upon that path leading to peace’. Macartney Abbott was born at Murrurundi, New South Wales, on 3 July 1877, and was the

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ABBOTT, Percy Phipps (1869–1940)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1925–29 (Australian Country Party)</span>

ABBOTT, Percy Phipps (1869–1940)
Senator for New South Wales, 1925–29 (Australian Country Party)

Percy Phipps Abbott was the first Country Party candidate from New South Wales to be elected to the Senate. He served only three and a half years as a senator, but his career as a soldier, political activist and elected representative spanned five decades. Grandson of a pioneer Tasmanian, Abbott was born on 14 May 1869, the son of John William Abbott, auctioneer, and

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ABBOTT, Richard Hartley Smith (1859–1940)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1928–29 (Australian Country Party)</span>

ABBOTT, Richard Hartley Smith (1859–1940)
Senator for Victoria, 1928–29 (Australian Country Party)

Richard Hartley Smith Abbott, company director, was born, probably in Bendigo, Victoria, around 1859, the son of Richard Hartley Abbott, also a company director, and Ann, née Smith. The young Richard was educated at Bendigo High School and then at St Andrews, Scotland. Returning to Australia, he became proprietor of the Abbott Supply Company, a director of the Sandhurst Building Society, the Bendigo Gas

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ADAMSON, John (1857–1922)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1920–22 (Nationalist Party)</span>

ADAMSON, John (1857–1922)
Senator for Queensland, 1920–22 (Nationalist Party)

John Adamson, Methodist minister, was born on 18 February 1857 at Tudhoe, County Durham, England, the son of Robert Adamson, shoemaker, and his wife, Dorothy, née English. After leaving Tudhoe Public School at the age of ten, he was apprenticed first to his alcoholic father as a shoemaker; then worked as a blacksmith. He became a railway tradesman on the North Eastern Railways, and

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AMOUR, Stanley Kerin (1900–1979)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1938–65 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

AMOUR, Stanley Kerin (1900–1979)
Senator for New South Wales, 1938–65 (Australian Labor Party)

Stanley Kerin Amour, who came to be known as ‘the honorable Senator for Bankstown’, was born on 2 April 1900 at Newcastle, New South Wales, the fourth son of Richard Joseph Amour, a signalman, and his wife Elizabeth, née Thompson. Stan was educated at Sacred Heart School, Hamilton Park, and for a time lived at Murrurundi in the Hunter Valley. He was just fifteen

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ANDERSON, Sir Kenneth McColl (1909–1985)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1953–75 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

ANDERSON, Sir Kenneth McColl (1909–1985)
Senator for New South Wales, 1953–75 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Kenneth McColl Anderson was born at sea on board a German vessel, the SS Scharnhorst, causing his parents, David More Anderson and Florence, née McWhirter, returning from England, to cable their family that they were bringing home a ‘seagull’. Anderson believed his date of birth to have been 11 October 1909, but the Scharnhorst’s list of the passengers reveals that ‘Child Anderson’ was born

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ANDREW, David John (1866–1928)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1925–28 (Australian Country Party)</span>

ANDREW, David John (1866–1928)
Senator for Victoria, 1925–28 (Australian Country Party)

David Andrew’s election as a senator in 1925 points to some degree of dogged determination for it was his sixth attempt to enter Parliament either at the federal or state level. Born in Castlemaine, Victoria, on 10 November 1866, the son of James Sprunt Andrew, a stonemason and later an auctioneer, and his wife, Augusta Arabella, Andrew attended state schools before beginning a fitter’s

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ARCHER, Brian Roper (1929–2013)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1975–94 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

ARCHER, Brian Roper (1929–2013)
Senator for Tasmania, 1975–94 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Brian Roper Archer was born at Calder, North-West Tasmania on 21 August 1929, the youngest of four children of Clive Anton Archer and Ellen (Nellie) Archer, née Gilmour. Clive Archer, an artillery officer during WW1, had served at Gallipoli and in France and was awarded the Military Cross. Brian grew up at Calder on the family dairy farm, a sixteen hectare soldier settlement block

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ARKINS, James Guy Dalley (1887–1980)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1935–37 (United Australia Party)</span>

ARKINS, James Guy Dalley (1887–1980)
Senator for New South Wales, 1935–37 (United Australia Party)

James Guy Dalley Arkins was born at Millthorpe, New South Wales, on 14 October 1887, the son of William James Arkins, storekeeper, and Isabella Alice Grant, née Webb. He was educated at Millthorpe Public School, then worked as a flour miller, builder, clerk and country journalist. As a young man Guy, as he was known, became an active supporter of the Labor Party in

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ARMSTRONG, John Ignatius (1908–1977)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1938–62 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

ARMSTRONG, John Ignatius (1908–1977)
Senator for New South Wales, 1938–62 (Australian Labor Party)

John Ignatius Armstrong, ‘the golden barman’, was born on 10 July 1908 to Irish parents, William, and Ellen, née Hannan. His father had hailed from Tipperary and his mother from County Cork. At the time of John’s birth the Armstrong family, already numbering six children, were living in the ‘Butchers Arms’ (later the ‘Dunkirk’), the family hotel in the inner Sydney area of Pyrmont.

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ARNOLD, James Jarvist (1902–1967)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1941–65 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

ARNOLD, James Jarvist (1902–1967)
Senator for New South Wales, 1941–65 (Australian Labor Party)

James Jarvist Arnold was born at Wallaroo Mines, South Australia, on 12 April 1902, the son of Robert George Arnold, a roper, and Julia Mary, née Broderick. He was educated at Christian Brothers College, Adelaide. After working on the railways, Arnold joined the fire brigade in South Australia. It was as a fireman that he found employment when he subsequently moved to Newcastle in

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ARTHUR, Thomas Christopher (1883–1953)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1938–44 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

ARTHUR, Thomas Christopher (1883–1953)
Senator for New South Wales, 1938–44 (Australian Labor Party)

Christopher Thomas (later Thomas Christopher) Arthur, miner and union official, was born on 11 May 1883 at Forbes, New South Wales, the son of William John Arthur, miner, and his wife Phillipina, née King. After leaving school, Tom Arthur worked as a miner and a shearer, befriending such Labor luminaries as Jack Barnes and John McNeill, both of whom would attain high office in

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ASHLEY, William Patrick (1881–1958)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1937–58 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

ASHLEY, William Patrick (1881–1958)
Senator for New South Wales, 1937–58 (Australian Labor Party)

William (later William Patrick) Ashley was born on 20 September 1881 at ‘Singorumba’, a property near Hay, in the Riverina, New South Wales, where his Adelaide-born father, James, worked as a station overseer. His mother, Julia Ann, née O’Connell, was born in Ireland. After attending primary school Bill Ashley worked in Hay, at a ‘cash store’, and at the Booligal Hotel for several years

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AULICH, Terrence Gordon (1945–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1985–93 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

AULICH, Terrence Gordon (1945– )
Senator for Tasmania, 1985–93 (Australian Labor Party)

Terrence (Terry) Gordon Aulich, teacher, politician, writer and lobbyist was born in Bathurst, New South Wales, on 5 October 1945, the eldest of four children of Tasmanians Gordon Joseph (Baron) Aulich, a linesman for the Tasmanian Hydro-Electric Commission (HEC), and his wife Beverley, née Gofton, assistant council clerk. He attended state schools at Scottsdale in north-eastern Tasmania, completing his secondary education at Scottsdale High

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AYLETT, William Edward (1900–1976)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1938–65 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

AYLETT, William Edward (1900–1976)
Senator for Tasmania, 1938–65 (Australian Labor Party)

William Edward (Bill) Aylett was of convict ancestry, his grandfather, William Aylett having been transported to Tasmania in 1845 for the theft of two beehives. Born at Wynyard in north-western Tasmania on 15 November 1900, Bill Aylett was the sixth of twelve children of Edward Aylett, a farmer and furrier, and Harriett Susanna, née Matthews. In 1914 the Aylett family moved to Waratah, the

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BADMAN, Albert Oliver (1885–1977)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1932–37 (Australian Country Party)</span>

BADMAN, Albert Oliver (1885–1977)
Senator for South Australia, 1932–37 (Australian Country Party)

Albert Oliver Badman, progressive wheat farmer and Country Party politician, was born ‘alongside a wheatfield’ near Yacka in the mid-north of South Australia, on 18 December 1885. Oliver, as he was known, was the son of Robert and Agnes Mary, née Duffield. According to family history, Albert Oliver’s grandfather was George Badman, who had migrated from Somerset, England, with his wife and young family

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BAKER, Sir Richard Chaffey (1841–1911)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1901–06 (Free Trade)</span>

BAKER, Sir Richard Chaffey (1841–1911)
Senator for South Australia, 1901–06 (Free Trade)

Sir Richard Chaffey Baker, barrister, pastoralist and foundation President of the Australian Senate, considered the Senate ‘the pivot on which the whole Federal Constitution revolves’. Baker, the eldest son of twelve children, was born at Adelaide on 22 June 1841 to John Baker, and his wife Isabella, née Allan. John Baker was a pioneer settler who arrived in South Australia in 1839 becoming a

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BAKHAP, Thomas Jerome Kingston (1866–1923)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1913–23 (Liberal Party; Nationalist Party)</span>

BAKHAP, Thomas Jerome Kingston (1866–1923)
Senator for Tasmania, 1913–23 (Liberal Party; Nationalist Party)

Thomas Jerome Kingston Bakhap, tin miner, was born in the Benevolent Asylum, Ballarat, Victoria, on 29 October 1866, the son of Margaret Geneva Hogan, an eighteen-year-old Irish girl residing in Smythesdale. The identity of the father does not appear on Bakhap’s birth certificate, registered in the name Kingston. Subsequent claims by his mother (whose own birthplace is cited variously as Callao, Peru, and Limerick,

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BARKER, Stephen (1846–1924)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1910–20, 1923–24 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

BARKER, Stephen (1846–1924)
Senator for Victoria, 1910–20, 1923–24 (Australian Labor Party)

‘It was’, wrote the Bulletin at the time of Stephen Barker’s death, ‘the dream of his life to get into the Senate’. Barker, tailor and trade unionist, was born in 1846, in London, England, son of Stephen Barker, farmer, and his wife Hannah, née Nagle. It is likely the whole family migrated to Australia. From the age of twelve, Barker worked in Melbourne as

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BARNES, John (1868–1938)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1913–20, 1923–35 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

BARNES, John (1868–1938)
Senator for Victoria, 1913–20, 1923–35 (Australian Labor Party)

‘The story of John Barnes’, said Albert Monk, ACTU president in 1938, ‘is also the history of the Australian Labor movement’. Barnes was born on 17 July 1868 at Hamilton, near Kapunda, South Australia, son of John Thomas Barnes, a labourer from Somerset, England, and his wife Mary, née Cummeford, from County Clare, Ireland. He acquired the basic elements of a primary education and

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BARRETT, John George (1858–1928)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1901–03 (Labor Party)</span>

BARRETT, John George (1858–1928)
Senator for Victoria, 1901–03 (Labor Party)

John George Barrett was born on 17 December 1858 at Carlton, Melbourne, the child of George Barrett, a carpenter, and Eliza Jane, née Elliot, both born in London. His father was active in party politics in Victoria. Barrett was educated at St Mary’s Church of England school at Hotham. On leaving school at the age of twelve he became an apprentice tinsmith, continuing to

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BARWELL, Sir Henry Newman (1877–1959)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1925–28 (Nationalist Party)</span>

BARWELL, Sir Henry Newman (1877–1959)
Senator for South Australia, 1925–28 (Nationalist Party)

Henry Newman Barwell, lawyer and premier, was born in Adelaide on 26 February 1877, the son of an Adelaide merchant, Henry Charles Barwell, and his wife Clara, née Brooke. The young Henry was educated at Whinham College and St Peter’s College, going on to Adelaide University, where he graduated in law. Barwell was articled to the firm of Wilson and Toler-Rowley and called to

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BAUME, Michael Ehrenfried (1930–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1985–96 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

BAUME, Michael Ehrenfried (1930– )
Senator for New South Wales, 1985–96 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Throughout his long career in both Houses of federal Parliament, Michael Baume was seldom far from controversy. Quick-witted and hard-working, with a flair for publicity, Baume was a relentless, effective and often ruthless opponent inside and outside the chambers. He was a close friend and ally of John Howard, for many years acting as his ‘numbers man’ in the Senate. Although he was amply

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BAUME, Peter Erne (1935–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1974–91 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

BAUME, Peter Erne (1935– )
Senator for New South Wales, 1974–91 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Peter Baume, who served for seventeen years in the Senate, was a small ‘l’ Liberal in the Deakinite tradition, representing the ameliorative and interventionist strand of the Liberal Party. Baume was sometimes at odds with his party’s public position and was prepared to cross the floor on issues of principle. He enjoyed distinguished careers in three separate areas of endeavour (medicine, politics and academia).

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BEAHAN, Michael Eamon (1937–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1987–96 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

BEAHAN, Michael Eamon (1937– )
Senator for Western Australia, 1987–96 (Australian Labor Party)

Michael Beahan, electrician, teacher, and state secretary of the ALP in Western Australia (1981–87), rose to be the nineteenth President of the Senate, holding that post from 1 February 1994 to 20 August 1996, before his formidable parliamentary career was cut short by pre-selection party politics. Michael Eamon Beahan was born on 21 January 1937 in London, England, the son of Irish autoelectrician Francis

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BEERWORTH, Frederick Hubert (1886–1968)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1946–51 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

BEERWORTH, Frederick Hubert (1886–1968)
Senator for South Australia, 1946–51 (Australian Labor Party)

Frederick Hubert Beerworth, farm worker, railwayman and union leader, was born on 17 May 1886 at Quorn near Carrieton, South Australia. He was one of the eleven children of William Carl Beerworth, a German-born farmer, and Mary, née McInerney. He was educated locally, probably at schools in Pametta and Carrieton. Following farm work in the Carrieton area, Fred, as he was known, became an

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BELL, Robert John (1950–2001)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania,  1990–96 (Australian Democrats)</span>

BELL, Robert John (1950–2001)
Senator for Tasmania, 1990–96 (Australian Democrats)

Most knowledge of Robert John Bell’s early life derives from his highly personal first speech to the Senate in May 1990. He was born in Hobart, Tasmania, on 22 July 1950. His parents were based at Bronte Park, his father employed on hydro-electricity works. Soon the couple separated, Robert remaining with his mother, Frances Ellen. While she qualified as a schoolteacher, the boy lived

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BENN, Archibald Malcolm (1897–1980)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1950–68 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

BENN, Archibald Malcolm (1897–1980)
Senator for Queensland, 1950–68 (Australian Labor Party)

Archie Benn was not quite a maverick senator but he was a man of independent mind who survived three full terms in the Senate very much on his own terms, pursuing subjects that had occupied him through his earlier career as an industrial officer in the Queensland Public Service, and developing his interests in international relations. Though closely involved in the turbulent split of

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BENNY, Benjamin (1869–1935)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1920–26 (Nationalist Party)</span>

BENNY, Benjamin (1869–1935)
Senator for South Australia, 1920–26 (Nationalist Party)

Benjamin Benny, solicitor, was born on 21 October 1869 at Aldinga, South Australia. Benjamin was the eldest son of the seven children of George Benny, Free Presbyterian minister and schoolteacher, and his wife Susanna, née Anderson. Benjamin first attended Morphett Vale Public School. When his father died penniless in 1879, Benjamin’s uncle, William Steele Benny, paid for his education at Thomas Caterer’s Commercial College,

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BESSELL, Eric James (1923–1979)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1974–75 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

BESSELL, Eric James (1923–1979)
Senator for Tasmania, 1974–75 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Eric James Bessell was a loyal party member and conscientious parliamentarian, whose political career ended when his view of the proper role of the Senate came into conflict with his party’s short-term political aims. He was born in Launceston to Harold Aubrey Bessell, a miner, and Robina Allen, née Dallas, on 6 June 1923. When he was five years old, the family moved from

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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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BISHOP, Reginald (1913–1999)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1962–81 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

BISHOP, Reginald (1913–1999)
Senator for South Australia, 1962–81 (Australian Labor Party)

Reginald (Reg) Bishop was born in Adelaide on 4 February 1913, ninth of ten surviving children of Enoch John Bishop, bootmaker, and Minnie, née Martlow. Reg was very proud of his status as a ‘west ender’, a term associated with the working-class area of central Adelaide where he grew up. He left school in 1927, having obtained what was then termed the qualifying certificate.

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BJELKE-PETERSEN, Florence Isabel (1920–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1981–1993 (National Country Party; National Party of Australia)</span>

BJELKE-PETERSEN, Florence Isabel (1920– )
Senator for Queensland, 1981–1993 (National Country Party; National Party of Australia)

Florence Bjelke-Petersen was born Florence Isabel Gilmour, in Brisbane on 11 August 1920, eldest of two daughters of James Pollock Gilmour, an accountant and company secretary, and his wife Florence Mabel, née Low. Growing up in the Brisbane riverside suburb of New Farm, her childhood was a secure and happy one, embedded in a contented family life. Florence began her schooling at the New

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BLACK, John Rees (1952–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1985–90 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

BLACK, John Rees (1952– )
Senator for Queensland, 1985–90 (Australian Labor Party)

John Rees Black was born in Sydney on 26 January 1952. He was the third of five children of Roger Foster Black, a botanist, born in Adelaide, and his Sydney-born wife Ivy Ada, née Tanner, whose father was said to have been an ‘ardent’ campaigner for Jack Lang. Ivy later wielded considerable back-room influence in the South Australian ALP and she was described as

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BLAKEY, Albert Edward Howarth (1879–1935)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1910–17 (Labor Party)</span>

BLAKEY, Albert Edward Howarth (1879–1935)
Senator for Victoria, 1910–17 (Labor Party)

Albert Edward Howarth Blakey was born on 9 November 1879, at Balmoral, in the western district of Victoria, the son of William Henry, a fellmonger and later a wool-classer, and Louise, née Woodford. William appears to have emigrated to Australia from Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England, marrying Louise at Balmoral in 1878. The young Blakey read widely and later lent his support to government increases to

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BOLTON, William Kinsey (1860–1941)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1917–23 (Nationalist Party)</span>

BOLTON, William Kinsey (1860–1941)
Senator for Victoria, 1917–23 (Nationalist Party)

William Kinsey Bolton, soldier and foundation president of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia, was born in Lostock Gralam, Cheshire, England, on 1 November 1860. The son of John Hammersley Bolton, corn dealer, and Hannah, née Kinsey, Bolton arrived in Australia with his parents in 1868. The family settled in the western district of Victoria, where his father became a storekeeper.

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BONNER, Neville Thomas (1922–1999)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1971–83 (Liberal Party of Australia; Independent)</span>

BONNER, Neville Thomas (1922–1999)
Senator for Queensland, 1971–83 (Liberal Party of Australia; Independent)

Neville Thomas Bonner, born ‘under a lone palm tree’ on 28 March 1922, at Ukerebagh Island, Tweed Heads, New South Wales, was a stockman and Aboriginal activist who believed it was in the best interest of his people to work for the Aboriginal cause within the existing political institutions of Australian white society. He was the first Indigenous Australian to sit in federal Parliament.

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BOURNE, Victoria Worrall (1954–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1990–2002 (Australian Democrats)</span>

BOURNE, Victoria Worrall (1954– )
Senator for New South Wales, 1990–2002 (Australian Democrats)

In 1973 when the Commonwealth Parliament amended the Electoral Act 1918 to lower the minimum voting age to eighteen, Vicki Bourne was a nineteen-year-old student. Inspired by the opportunity to vote, she looked at the environmental policies of each of the major political parties, rejecting the major parties in favour of the Australia Party. In 1977, when the Australia Party was merging with the

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BRAND, Charles Henry (1873–1961)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1935–47 (United Australia Party; Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

BRAND, Charles Henry (1873–1961)
Senator for Victoria, 1935–47 (United Australia Party; Liberal Party of Australia)

Charles Hayman (Henry) Brand, schoolteacher and army officer, was born on 4 September 1873 at Mount Radford Reserve, Ipswich, Queensland, son of Charles Hayman Brand, farmer, of Devon, England, and his wife Elizabeth, née Elliott, of Londonderry, Ireland. Educated at state schools in Maryborough and Bundaberg, young Charles joined the Department of Public Instruction on 8 November 1887 as a pupil-teacher. He taught initially

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BRANSON, George Howard (1918–1999)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1958–71 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

BRANSON, George Howard (1918–1999)
Senator for Western Australia, 1958–71 (Liberal Party of Australia)

George Howard Branson, sales manager and farmer, was born in Perth on 23 February 1918, the third of five surviving children of South Australian-born Howard Henry Branson and Ethel May, née Carrett, from Victoria. At the turn of the century Howard had been a goldminer in Geraldton and went on to acquire interests from mining magnate Claude de Bernales. Faced with lung problems, Branson

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BREEN, Dame Marie Freda (1902–1993)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1962–68 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

BREEN, Dame Marie Freda (1902–1993)
Senator for Victoria, 1962–68 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Although claiming to be a somewhat reluctant senator, Marie Freda Breen created her own opportunities for political advancement and was committed to the increased representation of women in all facets of public life. Marie was born on 3 November 1902 at St Kilda, Victoria, second child of Frederick William Chamberlin, town clerk of St Kilda, who was born in London, and his Australian-born wife,

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BRENNAN, Thomas Cornelius (1867–1944)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1931–38 (United Australia Party)</span>

BRENNAN, Thomas Cornelius (1867–1944)
Senator for Victoria, 1931–38 (United Australia Party)

Thomas Cornelius Brennan, the seventh of the eleven children of Michael Brennan and Mary, née Maher, was born in Sedgwick, Victoria, probably in 1867. His father, who was of Irish descent, was a farmer at Maryvale, Upper Emu Creek, near Bendigo; he was three times president, and then secretary, of Strathfieldsaye Shire. Thomas and his younger brother Frank would both enter the law and

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BROWN, Gordon (1885–1967)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1932–65 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

BROWN, Gordon (1885–1967)
Senator for Queensland, 1932–65 (Australian Labor Party)

Gordon Brown was a radical left-wing activist, who mellowed to become a colourful, audacious and popular Labor senator. He was born on 11 February 1885 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, son of William Brown and his wife Jane, née Woodcock. His father, a Methodist lay preacher, managed a bootshop. Gordon grew up in a large and devout household, which inspired ‘a Christian motivation’ that he would

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BROWN, William Walter Charles (1920–2001)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1969–70, 1971–78 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

BROWN, William Walter Charles (1920–2001)
Senator for Victoria, 1969–70, 1971–78 (Australian Labor Party)

Senator Bill Brown, cabinetmaker and trade union official, was a gracious and popular figure in the Senate, albeit an outspoken and passionate one. He was born William Walter Charles Brown in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, on 4 December 1920, the second child of William Samuel Brown, a French-polisher, and Eileen, née Ryder. After attending Catholic schools in inner-city Melbourne and studying at night

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BROWNHILL, David Gordon Cadell (1935–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for NSW, 1984–2000 (National Party of Australia)</span>

BROWNHILL, David Gordon Cadell (1935– )
Senator for NSW, 1984–2000 (National Party of Australia)

David Gordon Cadell Brownhill was born at the family property, Beaudesert station, near Mudgee, NSW, on 16 November 1935. He was the youngest of four children and the only son of Gordon McMillan Brownhill, grazier, and his wife Mary Wyatt, née Cadell. His early education was completed by correspondence. He then attended Cullenbone Public School and, from 1947 to 1953, Sydney Church of England

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BULL, Thomas Louis (1905–1976)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1965–71 (Australian Country Party)</span>

BULL, Thomas Louis (1905–1976)
Senator for New South Wales, 1965–71 (Australian Country Party)

Thomas Louis Bull, grazier, was born at Wagga Wagga on 7 September 1905, the fourth of five sons of Henry James Bull, grazier, and his wife Charlotte Roberta, née Tresilian. Educated in a one-teacher school at Gobbagaula, near Narrandera, and at Wesley College, Melbourne, he became a partner in his family’s pastoral properties in the Narrandera district. In 1948 he bought Yarramundi, a 5000-acre

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BUNTON, Cleaver Ernest (1902–1999)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1975 (Independent)</span>

BUNTON, Cleaver Ernest (1902–1999)
Senator for New South Wales, 1975 (Independent)

Cleaver Ernest Bunton’s service of less than nine months in the Senate was both a creation and a casualty of the Australian political crisis of 1975. Aged seventy-two when he entered the Senate, he told reporters, ‘I look 55 years old, feel 45 and am fit and well’. Youthful vigour, precocious achievement and an ability to rise above sectarian and partisan interests were by

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BURNS, Bryant Robert (1929–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1987–96 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

BURNS, Bryant Robert (1929– )
Senator for Queensland, 1987–96 (Australian Labor Party)

Bryant Robert Burns was born in Rockhampton, Queensland on 24 March 1929. He was the youngest of three children of Charles Robert Burns, a railway engine driver, and his wife Alice Charlotte, née Wassman. Burns attended Leichhardt Ward Boys’ School until the age of thirteen, when he abandoned his studies to go droving. For three years he worked as a stockman and horsebreaker in

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BUTTFIELD, Dame Nancy Eileen (1912–2005)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1955–65, 1968–74 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

BUTTFIELD, Dame Nancy Eileen (1912–2005)
Senator for South Australia, 1955–65, 1968–74 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Nancy Eileen Buttfield, the first South Australian woman to enter state or federal parliament, and a community worker and public figure in Adelaide, was born on 12 November 1912 in Kensington Gardens, Adelaide, to Edward Wheewall (later Sir Edward) Holden and Hilda May, née Lavis. Nancy’s great-grandfather, James Alexander Holden, arrived in Adelaide from the north of England in 1856, establishing a leather business

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BUTTON, John Norman (1932–2008)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1974–93 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

BUTTON, John Norman (1932–2008)
Senator for Victoria, 1974–93 (Australian Labor Party)

Variously described as ‘the best prime minister we never had’, ‘a small man of quick wit, crafty calculation and intellectual provocation’, as having ‘an unenviable reputation as a minister with an undisciplined tongue, a politician prone to gaffes’, ‘the first person since Shirley Temple to build a whole career out of whimsy’ and ‘a rare phenomenon in Australian politics: a genuine intellectual, a wit,

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BUZACOTT, Richard (1867–1933)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1910–23 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party)</span>

BUZACOTT, Richard (1867–1933)
Senator for Western Australia, 1910–23 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party)

Richard Buzacott was born at Emu Flat, near Clare, South Australia, on 7 September 1867, son of Richard Buzacott, a farmer of Emu Farm, Armagh (near Clare, South Australia) and his wife Margaret, née McKinnon. An elder brother, Nicholas, was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council (1899–1933). Richard was educated at Stanley Flat Primary School. In 1891, he went to work

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BYRNE, Condon Bryan (1910–1993)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1951–59, 1968–74 (Australian Labor Party, Queensland Labor Party, Democratic Labor Party)</span>

BYRNE, Condon Bryan (1910–1993)
Senator for Queensland, 1951–59, 1968–74 (Australian Labor Party, Queensland Labor Party, Democratic Labor Party)

Condon Bryan Byrne, lawyer, public servant and politician, was born at Yea, a pastoral town in central Victoria, on 25 May 1910. He was the son of Edward James Byrne, a soldier, born at Enniskillen, Ireland, and Mary Honorine, née Condon, born in Tasmania. Condon was educated at a primary school run by the Christian Brothers in West Melbourne, then at Marist Brothers’ College,

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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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CAMERON, Donald James (1878–1962)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1938–62 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

CAMERON, Donald James (1878–1962)
Senator for Victoria, 1938–62 (Australian Labor Party)

As a young man in Melbourne, Don Cameron, replete with red tie, could be seen boating on the Yarra. Sixty when he took his seat in the Senate in 1938, he left reluctantly in 1962, at eighty-four the oldest man in the federal Parliament, compelled by ill health to abandon plans for a fifth term. Once described as a ‘mild chap’ with an ‘engaging

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CAMERON, Donald Newton (1914–1998)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1969–78 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

CAMERON, Donald Newton (1914–1998)
Senator for South Australia, 1969–78 (Australian Labor Party)

One of seven members of the Commonwealth Parliament named ‘Donald Cameron’, including another Labor senator of that name, Donald Newton Cameron was distinguished superficially by his middle name (the first name of his maternal grandmother, said in family legend to have been descended from the English scientist, Sir Isaac Newton) but much more importantly by his industrial and life experience. Donald Newton Cameron was

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CAMERON, Martin Bruce (1935–)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1969 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

CAMERON, Martin Bruce (1935–)
Senator for South Australia, 1969 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Martin Bruce Cameron, whose career in the Senate lasted a mere five months, from 23 May to 24 October 1969, was born in Millicent, South Australia, on 24 August 1935, the only son of the five children of Gordon Reece Cameron of pioneering Scots descent and his wife, Asta, née May. As his father farmed around the South-East, Martin received his primary schooling at

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CANT, Hartley Gordon James (1907–1977)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1959–74 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

CANT, Hartley Gordon James (1907–1977)
Senator for Western Australia, 1959–74 (Australian Labor Party)

Hartley Gordon James Cant, miner, union official and industrial advocate, was born at Mount Magnet, Western Australia, on 19 November 1907, the beginning of a long association with remote areas of the state, which became central to his working life. Known as Harry to his friends and colleagues, he was one of nine surviving children of Arthur Edward Cant, a labourer, and Bridget, née

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CARRICK, Sir John Leslie (1918–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1971–87 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

CARRICK, Sir John Leslie (1918– )
Senator for New South Wales, 1971–87 (Liberal Party of Australia)

John Leslie Carrick was born in Sydney on 4 September 1918, the fourth of six children of Arthur James Carrick, a clerk, and his wife, Emily Ellen Jane, née Terry. During the Depression years Arthur lost his job in the Government Printing Office. In hindsight John Carrick believed that straitened circumstances made the family more close-knit. Evicted from ‘a large rambling house’ at Woollahra,

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CARROLL, William (1872–1936)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1926–36 (Australian Country Party) </span>

CARROLL, William (1872–1936)
Senator for Western Australia, 1926–36 (Australian Country Party)

William Carroll, wheat farmer, was one of a number of rural activists who helped to create the Country Party and who, by entering the federal Parliament in the 1920s and 1930s, changed the Australian political landscape. Born in the Western District of Victoria, at Garvoc, in the Shire of Warrnambool, on 3 January 1872, he was the son of Scottish-born James Carroll, and his

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CAVANAGH, James Luke (1913–1990)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1962–81 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

CAVANAGH, James Luke (1913–1990)
Senator for South Australia, 1962–81 (Australian Labor Party)

Jim Cavanagh was the most militant, and possibly the most effective, trade union official in South Australia during the decade and a half after World War II. Moreover, he was one of the most talented and energetic members of Labor’s contingent in the Senate, during the 1960s and 1970s. As a trade union secretary and Opposition senator, Cavanagh was in his element, but during

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CHAMARETTE, Christabel Marguerite Alain (1948–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1992–96, (Greens WA)</span>

CHAMARETTE, Christabel Marguerite Alain (1948– )
Senator for Western Australia, 1992–96, (Greens WA)

Christabel Chamarette represented Western Australia as a senator from 1992 to 1996. Her term, although short, was made noteworthy by the fact that between 1993 and 1996 she shared the balance of power with other minor party and independent senators, including her Greens (WA) colleague Dee Margetts. Christabel Marguerite Alain Chamarette was born on 1 May 1948 at Hyderabad, India, the daughter of Arthur

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CHAMBERLAIN, John Hartley (1884–1953)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1951–53 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

CHAMBERLAIN, John Hartley (1884–1953)
Senator for Tasmania, 1951–53 (Liberal Party of Australia)

John (Jack) Hartley Chamberlain was born at Manchester, England, on 29 April 1884, the son of John, linen draper, and Alice, née Hartley. The family migrated to Tasmania the next year, arriving in Hobart on the Arawa in February 1886. In 1890 they moved to Latrobe, in the island’s north-west, where John Chamberlain served as a Baptist minister between 1890 and 1895 (he was

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CHANEY, Frederick Michael (1941–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1971–93 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

CHANEY, Frederick Michael (1941– )
Senator for Western Australia, 1971–93 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Fred Chaney’s first speech to the Senate on 25 September 1974 was, for him, ‘a long awaited opportunity’, and he spoke with the assurance of one who had found his vocation. Chaney had visited Parliament many times as a schoolboy and as a law student with his father, Sir Frederick Chaney, who was the MHR for Perth from 1955 to 1969 and Minister for

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CHAPMAN, John Hedley (1879–1931)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1926–31 (Australian Country Party)</span>

CHAPMAN, John Hedley (1879–1931)
Senator for South Australia, 1926–31 (Australian Country Party)

John Hedley Chapman was born at Jamestown, a small town north of Adelaide, on 16 December 1879. He was the only son of Sarah Jane, née Williams, and John Chapman, a farmer, whose grandfather, also John Chapman, had emigrated from Cornwall in 1845. John Hedley’s schooling commenced at the local Jamestown school (now Jamestown Community School) and was continued at Prince Alfred College in

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