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David Scott (1849–1927)

from Newcastle Sun

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

The death of Mr. David Scott, which occurred at Adamstown yesterday, recalls the advent of the first Labor Party into the New South Wales Parliament.

The date was June, 1891, when a general election took place, and no fewer than 35 members prepared to support the Labor platform, were elected. The names of the members were Messrs. D. Scott and J. L. Fegan, (Newcastle), Mr. A. Edden (Northumberland, which included nearly all the suburbs of the district), Messrs. J. S. T. McGowen, and W. H. Sharp (Redfern), J. D. Fitzgerald, George Black, T. M. Davis, and Andy Kelly (West Sydney), J. H. Cann (Sturt, in the Broken Hill district), Joseph Cook (Hartley), Albert, better known as 'Jupp,' Gardiner, and G. F. Hutchinson (Forbes); Job Sheldon (Namoi), R. M. Vaughan (Grenfell), T. Bavister, C. J. Danahey (Canterbury), E. M. Clark (St. Leonards), G. D. Clark, E. Darnley, J. Johnson, and W. A. Murphy (Balmain), Frank Cotton and J. Hindle (Newtown), J. G. Gough and J. A. McKinnon (Young), Dr. Hollls (Goulburn), J. Kirkpatrick (Gunnedah), W. H. Newman (Orange), J. Newton (Balranald), J. B. Nicholson (Illawarra), A. Rae (Murrumbidgee), T. H. Williams (Upper Hunter), J. Morgan (Bogan) and T. J. Houghton (Glebe).

Not one of those members is now in the Legislative Assembly, but Mr. George Black has filled a seat in the Upper House for many years.

Mr. Scott sat in only one Parliament. His ability, however, was recognised, and his courage in refusing to allow outside parties to dictate to him as how he should act in political affairs was admired by friend and opponent alike.

When he was elected he was busy constructing a large bed-plate condenser and hot well for the dredge Hunter at the works of Messrs. J. and A. Rodgers, Church-street West, Newcastle.

Mr. Scott decided to see the work finished before he resigned his position. He was one of the promoters of the old Newcastle Trades and Labor Council, and also a trustee of the early eight-hour movement in Newcastle.

Other representatives achieved greatness in political and other walks of life. 

The late Mr. McGowen became Premier in the first Labor Government, but was eventually defeated at the polls by the present Minister for Justice (Mr. McKell).

Mr. J. H. Cann (brother of Mr. George Cann, Minister for Local Government in the Lang Ministry), was also a Minister of the Crown, and later was one of the Railway Commissioners.

Mr. Joseph Cook, now Sir Joseph Cook, who subsequently left the Labor Party, retained his seat until he decided to contest a Federal constituency. He was a Minister in several State Parliaments, and in after years became Prime Minister of Australia. He is now the High Commissioner in London.

Mr. A. Edden, a veteran of 77 years of age, is still a resident of Adamstown. In his day he played many parts, and all of them with fairness to every party. 

As a miner, long before he thought of becoming a member of Parliament, he suffered for upholding what he considered to be the rights of his fellow-workers in the Newcastle district. He, too, reached the position of a Minister, and it was generally admitted that he discharged the duties equitably.

His colleague of 35 years ago—Mr. J. L. Fegan—who has fought many political battles since then, although now over 60 years of age, has lost but little of his former activity. He, however, was not long connected with the Labor political movement, but he claims that while in Parliament he did a great deal for the betterment of the class from which he graduated.

Before he was returned at the 1892 election, he tried to wrest the Newcastle seat from the late Mr. William Grahame, but was defeated by 16 votes. His day came in 1892, when he continued to represent a Newcastle district constituency for many years, until Mr. W. C. Grahame (son of his former opponent) displaced him.

Mr. Fegan subsequently served a term in a later Parliament.

Early in his political career, he was one of the Ministers of the Crown, and it is said that few members of past or present Parliaments have a better knowledge of almost every portion of the State than he has.

The late Mr. J. D. Fitzgerald, who was a compositor, engaged in the daily newspaper offices in Sydney for many years, also was a Minister, and his knowledge of Local Government was admitted to be equal to that of any other exponent in Australia.

Mr. A. Gardiner, who knows as much of the 'ins and outs' and the uncertainty of political life as most men.

Mr. A. Rae, who enjoyed the confidence of the industrialists for over 30 years, also secured a seat in the Senate, but the whirligig of time and fickle minds of the electors caused him to seek another avenue for his talents.

Mr. Frank Cotton, the one-time idol of the outback workers, is still pursuing, the 'inky way' in one of the Sydney suburbs; while Mr. T. J. Houghton, in his day one of the foremost trade-unionists in New South Wales, is heard of through the columns of the press occasionally.

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Citation details

'Scott, David (1849–1927)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


5 January, 1849
Ceres, Fife, Scotland


10 January, 1927 (aged 78)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

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Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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