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McClintock, Albert Scott (1880–1968)

by Wendy Birman

This entry is from the Australian Dictionary of Biography

Albert Scott McClintock (1880-1968), librarian, estate agent and Labor stalwart, was born on 28 January 1880 at Balmain, Sydney, youngest son of Scottish-born Robert McLintock, accountant, and his wife Jeanie Scott, née Duff. His schooling at Balmain was cut short when his father was retrenched. Albert worked as a law clerk and at the University of Sydney library until he was appointed in 1900 secretary, librarian and editor of the Ormond at the Melbourne Working Men's College. He belonged to the Victorian Labour Federation and wrote for Labor Call.

In 1903 McClintock went to a post as secretary of the Kalgoorlie Miners' (Mechanics' from 1905) Institute, Western Australia, becoming foundation president of the Goldfields Clerical Workers' Union of Workers in 1907. In 1911 the Kalgoorlie Miner described him as a 'fetch and carry Joey for [John] Scaddan'. Next year he compiled the Western Australian Goldfields Souvenir. He was an active anti-conscriptionist in 1917. A long-term representative of the Goldfields Trades and Labour Council (eastern industrial district) on the State executive of the Australian Labor Party, he was a delegate in 1933 at the special Labor conference in Sydney. As a director of the Westralian Worker he helped to bring John Curtin to Perth. Although he constantly campaigned for others, he missed pre-selection for Senate and State seats himself.

McClintock was a self-taught, able, bookish man, who expanded and popularized his libraries where he created a club-like atmosphere. Mainly because of his efforts, the first secretaries' and librarians' conference took place at Perth in 1904; an Institutes Association resulted, which advocated, fruitlessly, free public lending libraries.

Moving to Perth in 1913, McClintock became the librarian ('Boan's Book Bonaparte') and advertising and real-estate manager at Boan's Emporium. In the 1920s he established McClintock & Co., estate agents. He invested in suburban properties, two country hotels and, with his brother Robert, a farm at Naraling. In 1926 he was appointed a Licensing Court magistrate. A past State president of the Australian Natives' Association, he was its overseas tour organizer in 1934 and 1937; on tour he lectured and promoted Australian products. Afterwards he managed his hotel at Denmark until, having been found guilty of a homosexual offence in 1946, he retired to Sydney.

Wherever he lived McClintock identified with the community's cultural, religious, Masonic, educational, sporting and political life. Convinced that 'progress means the remorseless removal of the obsolete', he served local government at Kalgoorlie, South Perth and Denmark. He produced glossy publications about all three municipalities and annual Boan's family albums (1914-19), packed with information and homilies. He was commodore of South Perth Yacht Club and president of the Perth Amateur Swimming Club. In 1935 he secured leases at Meier's Find, Yilgarn, for London principals, and when 86 he published Information and Protection for Shareholders and Companies (Canberra, 1967).

McClintock, or 'Sinto', was bespectacled, prematurely bald and always well attired; a wit, he was respected for his business acumen and open-handedness to relatives and political colleagues. On 21 November 1906, at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Kalgoorlie, he had married Gertrude Williams, a teacher of voice production. At home, although he was demanding, domineering and ungenerous, his wife remained steadfast through adversity. They had a son and a daughter, 'Ray' (Ruby Gertrude) Oldham, landscape architect and author. McClintock died at Manly, Sydney, on 5 July 1968 and was buried in the Anglican cemetery, Frenchs Forest. His estate was sworn for probate at $152,232.

Select Bibliography

  • J. S. Battye (ed), Cyclopedia of Western Australia, vol 2 (Adel, 1913)
  • South Australian Institute Journal, 1, 24 Sept 1904
  • Western Australian Librarians Institute Journal, Nov 1904
  • Western Mail (Perth), 19 Jan 1917
  • West Australian, 4, 5 Nov 1904, 12 Apr 1946
  • Westralian Worker, 18 Oct 1912
  • Kalgoorlie Mechanics' Institute, 1903-1913 (PR 3995, State Library of Western Australia)
  • private information.

Citation details

Wendy Birman, 'McClintock, Albert Scott (1880–1968)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://labouraustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/mcclintock-albert-scott-7315/text12689, accessed 23 November 2017.

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