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Albert Bruntnell

Albert Bruntnell, Minister for Health

Albert Bruntnell (4 August 1866 – 31 January 1929) was an Australian politician. He was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1906 until his death and held a number of ministerial positions in the Government of New South Wales. He was a conservative and at various times he represented the Liberal and Reform and the Nationalist parties.

Early life

Bruntnell was born in Breconshire, Wales. His father was a master blacksmith and he was educated to elementary level at National schools. Bruntnell was trained as a tailor but in 1885 he joined the Salvation Army and attended the Salvation Army Training School. Following graduation, his first appointment as a Salvation Army Officer was to accompany Commissioner Howard to Australia in 1888. He remained in Australia and was promoted to captain in Melbourne in 1889. Bruntnell reached the rank of Brigadier by 1897 when he became the colonial commanding officer in Victoria. He later held the same position in Queensland in 1900 and New South Wales in 1903. However, he was forced to resign his position in 1903 after accepting a personal gift from the New South Wales Alliance for the Suppression of Intemperance, which then employed him as its secretary. He maintained a life-time interest in Temperance and was a Freemason. Together with premier Charles Wade he was a key supporter of the Australian Protestant Defence Association. During his parliamentary career he also worked as a Real estate agent and auctioneer.[1]

Political career

In 1906, during a Legislative Assembly debate over a land corruption scandal, John Norton the member for Surry Hills challenged William Holman, the Labor member for Cootamundra and a future premier, to resign his seat so that Norton could contest a by-election directly against him. When the challenge was accepted, Norton was compelled to resign from his own seat precipitating a by-election in Surry Hills, which was held on 14 July 1906. Bruntnell stood as the Liberal and Reform candidate and won with 30% of the vote. Norton finished 4th with 18%.[2]

At the next state election held on 10 September 1907, Bruntnell chose to contest the seat of Alexandria but lost to the Labor Party candidate John Darcy.[3] Bruntnell was absent from parliament until the general election of 1910 when he won the seat of Annandale by 200 votes (1.18%).[4] He was, however, defeated at the next election by Arthur Griffith.[5] Bruntnell was finally able to secure a safe, conservative voting seat, at the 1916 by-election for the seat of Parramatta.[6] This election was caused by the death of Thomas Moxham. Bruntnell continued to represent Parramatta until his death.[7]

Ministerial career

Bruntnell was the Minister of Public Health for the last two months of the Nationalist government of premier William Holman. He was the Minister of Public Instruction in the Fuller government from 1922 till 1925. In this position he instituted a pledge of loyalty to the flag to counter what he viewed as disloyalty amongst Irish-Australian Catholics. He also re-introduced fees for public high schools.[7]

When Fuller resigned as leader of the Nationalists he narrowly lost the leadership ballot to Bavin.[1] He served as Colonial Secretary in Bavin's government from 1927 till his death.[7]


  1. ^ a b Bollen, J D (1979). "Bruntnell, Albert (1866-1929)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Vol. 7. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  2. ^ Green, Antony. "1906 Surry Hills by-election". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  3. ^ Green, Antony. "1907 Alexandria". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  4. ^ Green, Antony. "1910 Annandale". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  5. ^ Green, Antony. "1913 Annandale". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  6. ^ Green, Antony. "1916 Parramatta by-election". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "Mr Albert Bruntnell (1866-1929)". Former members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 11 May 2019.


New South Wales Legislative Assembly Preceded byJohn Norton Member for Surry Hills 1906–1907 Succeeded byJames Graham Preceded byWilliam Mahony Member for Annandale 1910–1913 Succeeded byArthur Griffith Preceded byThomas Moxham Member for Parramatta 1916–1929 With: none / Jack Lang / nonenone / Bill Ely / Thomas Morrow / Bill Ely / none Succeeded byHerbert Lloyd Political offices Preceded byDavid Storey Minister of Public Health 1924 Succeeded byGreg McGirras Minister of Public Health and Motherhood Preceded byThomas Mutch Minister of Public Instruction 1922 – 1925 Succeeded byThomas Mutchas Minister for Education Preceded byMark Gosling Colonial Secretary 1927 – 1929 Succeeded byThomas Bavin
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Albert Bruntnell
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