Nelson Lemmon

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The Honourable
Nelson Lemmon
Nelson Lemmon.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Forrest
In office
21 August 1943 – 10 December 1949
Preceded by John Prowse
Succeeded by Gordon Freeth
Member of the Australian Parliament
for St George
In office
29 May 1954 – 10 December 1955
Preceded by Bill Graham
Succeeded by Bill Graham
Personal details
Born (1908-03-22)22 March 1908
Williamstown, Victoria
Died 20 March 1989(1989-03-20) (aged 80)
Robertson, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party Country Party (1930s)
Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Ada Mary Jackel
Occupation Farmer

Nelson Lemmon (22 March 1908 – 20 March 1989) was an Australian politician and government minister. He was responsible for establishing the Snowy Mountains Scheme.[1]

Early life[edit]

Lemmon was born at Williamstown, Victoria, the son of John Lemmon, Australian Labor Party politician and Australian Labor Party member for Williamstown in the Victorian Legislative Assembly from 1904 to 1955.[2] He was educated at Williamstown State School and Longerenong Agricultural College, but subsequently moved to Ongerup, in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, to take up farming, and married Ada Mary Jackel in 1930.[3][4] Lemmon was later elected chairman of the Gnowangerup Road Board, becoming the youngest road board chairman in the state. He also served as a "prominent member" of the Wheatgrowers' Union.[5]

Political career[edit]

Running as an unendorsed Country Party candidate, Lemmon unsuccessfully contested the seat of Katanning in the Legislative Assembly at both a 1935 by-election and the 1936 state election.[6] Lemmon was defeated by Arthur Watts, a future deputy premier, on both occasions, at the by-election losing by only 43 votes after five rounds of counting.[7]

Remaining involved in politics, although switching to the Labor Party, Lemmon won the House of Representatives seat of Forrest at the 1943 election. He was Minister for Works and Housing in Ben Chifley's November 1946 ministry until his defeat by Gordon Freeth at the 1949 election. He was responsible for the commencement of the construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme a complex of dams, power stations and tunnels in southern New South Wales to produce hydroelectric power and divert water for irrigation to inland areas along the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers.[8] He chose William Hudson as Commissioner of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority and refused to follow the normal procedure of putting forward three alternatives to cabinet.[9]

Lemmon was also responsible for commencing a substantial program of construction of houses for ex-servicemen returned from World War II. At the 1954 election he won the New South Wales seat of St George from Bill Graham and there was press speculation that he would run for Labor leadership. However, the Labor Party split in 1954 and Nelson lost to Graham at the 1955 election.[3]

He was one of only a small number of people who have represented more than one state or territory in the Parliament.

Lemmon returned to being a horse trainer and breeder in Robertson, New South Wales. He was survived by his wife and a son and a daughter.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Members of the House of Representatives since 1901". Parliamentary Handbook. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2008-02-04. 
  2. ^ Smith, Ann G. (1986). "Lemmon, John (1875 - 1955)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2008-02-04. 
  3. ^ a b Hawke, Bob (4 April 1989). "Death of Hon. Nelson Lemmon". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2008-02-04. 
  4. ^ "Ada toasts her 105th birthday". Bayside Bulletin. 14 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  5. ^ "THE KATANNING SEAT: Five Candidates Announced"The Western Mail. Published 8 August 1935.
  6. ^ "N. Lemmon's Candidature"The West Australian. Published 20 August 1935.
  7. ^ "KATANNING SEAT: BY-ELECTION COMPLETED—Mr. A. F. Watts Successful"The West Australian. Published 4 September 1935.
  8. ^ Endersbee, L A. "The Snowy Vision and the Young Team - The First Decade of Engineering for the Snowy Mountains Scheme". The spirit of the Snowy—fifty years on. Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. Retrieved 2008-02-04. 
  9. ^ Sparke, Eric (1996). "Hudson, Sir William (1896 - 1978)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Bert Lazzarini
Minister for Works and Housing
1946–1949
Succeeded by
Richard Casey
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
John Prowse
Member for Forrest
1943–1949
Succeeded by
Gordon Freeth
Preceded by
Bill Graham
Member for St George
1954–1955
Succeeded by
Bill Graham