Thomas Bavin

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The Honourable
Sir Thomas Bavin
KCMG KC
Thomas Bavin.jpg
24th Premier of New South Wales
Elections: 1927, 1930
In office
18 October 1927 – 4 November 1930
Preceded by Jack Lang
Succeeded by Jack Lang
Constituency Gordon (1917–20)
Ryde (1920–27)
Gordon (1927–35)
Personal details
Born Thomas Rainsford Bavin
(1874-05-05)5 May 1874
Kaiapoi, Canterbury, New Zealand
Died 31 August 1941(1941-08-31) (aged 67)
Bellevue Hill, New South Wales, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Nationalist
Spouse(s) Edyth Winchcombe
Alma mater Newington College
University of Sydney

Sir Thomas Rainsford Bavin, KCMG (5 May 1874 – 31 August 1941) was the 24th Premier of New South Wales.

Early years[edit]

Born in Kaiapoi, New Zealand to a Methodist minister and his wife, Bavin was educated at Auckland Grammar School until 1889 when his family moved to Sydney and Bavin enrolled at Newington College (1889–1890).[1] His siblings were: Edna (Mrs Charles Lack); Jessie (Mrs Ambrose Fletcher); Gertrude (Mrs William Parker); Major Cyril Bavin OBE; Horace Bavin; Florence Bavin (Mrs Ernest Warren); Lancelot Bavin; and Dora Bavin (Mrs Leslie Allen).[2] At the University of Sydney he came into conflict with his parents by renouncing Methodism (he later converted to Anglicanism), and graduated with a BA in 1894 and LL.B in 1897, winning the University Medal in the process.[3]

Called to the New South Wales Bar in 1897, Bavin became involved in the cause of Australian Federation, unsuccessfully standing for the Legislative Assembly seat of Canterbury on a pro-Federation platform in 1898. After lecturing in law at the University of Tasmania in 1900 where he was acting professor of law[4] , Bavin returned to Sydney to marry Edyth Winchcombe, the daughter of Frederick Winchcombe, a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly and Council, on 6 February 1901, and serve as private secretary to Australia's first and second Prime Ministers, Sir Edmund Barton and Sir Alfred Deakin.

Bavin returned to the Bar in 1904 but found briefs scarce and so began writing op-ed pieces for Sydney newspapers, and, along with Deakin, serve as the Australian correspondent for the London Morning Post from 1907 to 1911.[5] In 1913, he inquired into food supplies and prices and went to sea on the trawlers to investigate pricing of fish in detail. He recommended an anti-monopoly bureau that could investigate prices and recommend prosecutions. Bavin was elected as an alderman to Willoughby Municipal Council in 1910.[3] When World War I broke out he became a naval intelligence officer.[4]

Political career[edit]

Bavin's attempts to enter federal parliament were thwarted, thrice losing Commonwealth Liberal Party pre-selection, due partly to his support for greater social welfare expenditure. He gained pre-selection for the Legislative Assembly seat of Albury in 1916 but the elections were deferred until 1917, when he was elected as the Nationalist Party member for Gordon in 1917, which he held to 1935, except during the period of proportional representation (1920–1927) when he was a member for Ryde.[3][6]

Following his election, Bavin rapidly rose through the parliamentary ranks, becoming deputy leader of the Nationalists in October 1920 and served as Attorney-General and Minister for Justice in 1921 and Attorney-General of New South Wales from 1922-25. After the Nationalist loss at the 1925 election, Bavin was elected party leader (and by dint, Leader of the Opposition).

Following an agreement by the Nationalist and Country parties not to stand candidates against each other, the coalition won the 1927 election and Bavin became Premier and Treasurer on 18 October 1927.

Further information: Bavin ministry

During his term as Premier, Bavin introduced the Income Tax (Management) Act (1928), where the incomes of husband and wife were combined, and a progressive tax system introduced (angering many of his conservative supporters in the process). In reaction to Australian Labor Party calls to abolish the Legislative Council, Bavin pushed through legislation requiring a referendum to do so.

Bavin was plagued by ill health throughout his Premiership, absenting him from Cabinet during crucial times, especially in the wake of the Great Depression in 1929. Faced with a growing number of strikes, Bavin turned to non-unionised labour, which led to violent confrontations between striking workers and police.

Following the Nationalists loss in the 1930 election, Bavin continued to lead the party until 1932, when he joined the newly created United Australia Party. Appointed KCMG in 1933, Bavin retired from politics in 1935 to serve as a Justice of the New South Wales Supreme Court. Bavin also returned to writing, authoring a number of books, including Thomas Rainsford Bavin: Extracts from his Speeches from 1923 until 1932 (1933), and Sir Henry Parkes: His Life and Work (1941).

Bavin died of cancer in the Sydney suburb of Bellevue Hill, survived by his wife, son and three daughters.[3] His well-attended funeral was held at St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney on 2 September 1941. He was later cremated at Northern Suburbs Crematorium.[7]

Honours[edit]

Bavin was appointed KCMG in 1933.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Newington College Register of Past Students 1863-1998 (Syd, 1999) pp10
  2. ^ Ancestors of Rev. Rainsford Bavin and Emma Buddle. Retrieved 22 June 2012
  3. ^ a b c d McCarthy, John. "Bavin, Sir Thomas Rainsford". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 27 September 2007. 
  4. ^ a b Serle, Percival. "Bavin, Sir Thomas Rainsford". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Project Gutenberg Australia. Retrieved 23 August 2007. 
  5. ^ a b "Guide to the Papers of Sir Thomas Bavin, Biographical Note". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 1 May 2007. 
  6. ^ "Sir Thomas Rainsford Bavin (1874 - 1941)". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 1 May 2007. 
  7. ^ Sydney Morning Herald- Funeral Notice - Thomas Rainsford Bavin. 2 September 1941, Page 12.
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Charles Wade
Member for Gordon
1917–1920
District abolished
Preceded by
William Thompson
Member for Ryde
1920–1927
With: Anderson, Greig, Henley, Loxton/Sanders
Succeeded by
Henry McDicken
New district Member for Gordon
1927–1935
Succeeded by
Philip Goldfinch
Political offices
Preceded by
Edward McTiernan
Attorney General of New South Wales
1921
Succeeded by
Edward McTiernan
Preceded by
William McKell
Minister for Justice
1921
Succeeded by
William McKell
Preceded by
Edward McTiernan
Attorney General of New South Wales
1922–1925
Succeeded by
Edward McTiernan
Preceded by
Sir George Fuller
Leader of the Opposition of New South Wales
1925–1927
Succeeded by
Jack Lang
Preceded by
Jack Lang
Premier of New South Wales
1927–1930
Succeeded by
Jack Lang
Preceded by
Jack Lang
Colonial Treasurer of New South Wales
1927–1929
Succeeded by
Sir Bertram Stevens
Preceded by
Albert Bruntnell
Colonial Secretary of New South Wales
1929
Succeeded by
Frank Chaffey
Preceded by
Jack Lang
Leader of the Opposition of New South Wales
1930–1932
Succeeded by
Sir Bertram Stevens
Party political offices
Preceded by
Sir George Fuller
Leader of the Nationalist Party
1925–1931
Merged into UAP
New political party Leader of the United Australia Party
1931–1932
Succeeded by
Sir Bertram Stevens