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Arthur Blakeley

Arthur Blakeley
Minister for Home Affairs
In office
22 October 1929 – 6 January 1932
Prime MinisterJames Scullin
Preceded byAubrey Abbott
Succeeded byArchdale Parkhill
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
Deputy Leader of the Labor Party
In office
26 April 1928 – 5 February 1929
LeaderJames Scullin
Preceded byJames Scullin
Succeeded byTed Theodore
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Darling
In office
5 May 1917 – 15 September 1934
Preceded byWilliam Spence
Succeeded byJoe Clark
Personal details
Born(1886-07-03)3 July 1886
Gilberton, South Australia, Australia
Died27 June 1972(1972-06-27) (aged 85)
Glen Iris, Victoria, Australia
Political partyLabor
Ruby Pauline McCarroll
(m. 1914; died 1962)

Arthur Blakeley (3 July 1886 – 27 June 1972) was an Australian politician who served in the House of Representatives from 1917 to 1934, representing the Labor Party. He was the party's deputy leader from 1928 to 1929 and served as Minister for Home Affairs in the Scullin government (1929–1932).

Early life

Blakeley was born on 3 July 1886 in Gilberton, South Australia. He was the son of Catherine Ann (née Greenwood) and Simeon Blakeley, his father being a house-painter from Yorkshire, England. When he was young, the family moved to Broken Hill, New South Wales, where he attended a convent school. Blakeley was educated to the age of 13, when he left school to work in the mining camps. He later worked as a shearer. In 1912, he became an organiser for the Australian Workers' Union (AWU). He served as secretary of its western branch from 1915 to 1917, based in Bourke, New South Wales. Blakeley married Ruby Pauline McCarroll in 1914, with whom he had two sons and two daughters.[1]

Political career

Blakeley in 1917

In the 1917 election, Blakeley was elected as the member for Darling in the Australian House of Representatives after a sustained campaign against conscription. He was president of the Australian Workers' Union from 1919 to 1923. In April 1928, he was elected deputy leader of the parliamentary party, but lost it in 1929 to Ted Theodore. On the election of the Scullin government, Blakeley became Minister for Home and Territories until Labor's defeat at the 1931 election. This position was responsible for the development of Canberra and in 1930 he announced the establishment of a university college and in 1931, he abolished the Federal Capital Commission.[1]

On the advice of the Northern Territory Pastoral Lessees' Association, Blakeley oversaw the re-establishment of the single Northern Territory, which in 1926 had been split into the separate territories of Central Australia and North Australia.[2] The territories were disestablished effective 11 June 1931 by legislation passed the previous year.[3] In 1931, Blakeley also proposed the establishment of a special court for Indigenous people in the Northern Territory, similar to the later community courts. He stated a desire for "a simple tribunal, presided over by a person or persons with a thorough knowledge of native customs, who can sift native evidence [...] I do not want a court restricted by all kinds of legal technicalities and procedures".[4]

At the 1934 election, Blakeley was defeated by the Lang Labor candidate, Joe Clark.[1]

Later life

Blakeley moved to Melbourne and in 1935 he was appointed an inspector of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, which he worked for almost continuously until his retirement in 1952. His wife died in 1962, and he died in 1972 in the Melbourne suburb of Glen Iris, after a state funeral he was cremated. He was survived by two sons and two daughters.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Marshall, Norma (1979). "Blakeley, Arthur (1886–1972)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-522-84459-7. ISSN 1833-7538. OCLC 70677943. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
  2. ^ "NORTHERN TERRITORY". The Age. No. 23, 391. Victoria, Australia. 28 March 1930. p. 18. Retrieved 16 August 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "PROCLAMATION". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. No. 46. Australia. 11 June 1931. p. 931. Retrieved 15 August 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "Protest and Reform in the 1920s and 1930s". Australian Law Reform Commission. 18 August 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2022.
Political offices Preceded byAubrey Abbott Minister for Home Affairs 1929–1932 Succeeded byArchdale Parkhill Parliament of Australia Preceded byWilliam Spence Member for Darling 1917–1934 Succeeded byJoe Clark
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Arthur Blakeley
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