Anderson Dawson

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Anderson Dawson
14th Premier of Queensland
In office
1 December 1899 – 7 December 1899
Preceded by James Dickson
Succeeded by Robert Philp
Australian Senator for Queensland
In office
30 March 1901 – 31 December 1906
Personal details
Born (1863-07-16)16 July 1863
Rockhampton, Queensland
Died 20 July 1910(1910-07-20) (aged 47)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Caroline Ryan

Andrew Dawson (16 July 1863 – 20 July 1910), usually known as Anderson Dawson, was an Australian politician, the Premier of Queensland for one week (1–7 December) in 1899. This premiership was not only the first Australian Labor Party government; it was the first parliamentary socialist government anywhere in the world, and it attracted international newspaper coverage.[1]

Dawson was born at Rockhampton, Queensland. When he was six his mother died and he was placed in Diamantina orphanage in Brisbane until he was nine, when an uncle took him to Gympie.[2] He began work as a miner at Charters Towers, and later was elected first president of the Miners' Union. He took up journalism and for a time was editor of the local newspaper, The Charters Towers Eagle.[3][4]

Anderson Dawson's headstone at Brisbane's Toowong Cemetery.

In 1893, Dawson entered politics as a Labor candidate for Charters Towers in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland; he won the seat, and retained it at the 1896 and 1899 elections. When the government of James Dickson resigned on 1 December 1899, Dawson formed a ministry, which was, however, defeated as soon as the house next met. It did however represent the first socialist or Labour government in the world. Subsequently, at the first Federal election for the Senate (1901), he was returned at the head of the Queensland poll. In April 1904 when J.C. Watson formed the first Federal Labor government, Dawson was given the portfolio of Minister for Defence.[3][4]

Initially announcing his intention to retire at the 1906 election, he ultimately decided to contest it, but as the Labor candidates had already been selected he ran as an Independent. He lost his seat and died in 1910 in Brisbane.[3]

The Federal electoral division of Dawson is named after him.


  1. ^ Blainey, Geoffrey (2000). A shorter history of Australia. Milsons Point, N.S.W.: Vintage. p. 263. ISBN 1-74051-033-X. 
  2. ^ Queensland State Archives Item ID268111, Register - admissions No. 510
  3. ^ a b c Murphy, D. J. (1981). "Dawson, Andrew (1863 - 1910)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  4. ^ a b Serle, Percival. "Dawson, Anderson (usually known as Anderson Dawson) (1863-1910)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Project Gutenberg Australia. Archived from the original on 29 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
James Dickson
Premier of Queensland
Succeeded by
Robert Philp
Preceded by
Austin Chapman
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
James Whiteside McCay