William McCall (Australian politician)

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William McCall
William McCall.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Martin
In office
15 September 1934 – 21 August 1943
Preceded by William Holman
Succeeded by Fred Daly
Personal details
Born (1908-05-24)24 May 1908
Chatswood, New South Wales
Died 19 August 1968(1968-08-19) (aged 60)
Pittwater, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party United Australia Party
Spouse(s) 1) Georgina Bessie Dart (died 1961)
2) Mavis Michele Dearing
Occupation Businessman

William Victor "Bill" McCall (24 May 1908 – 19 August 1968) was an Australian politician.

Early life[edit]

McCall was born on 24 May 1908 at Chatswood in Sydney to bank officer William James McCall and Hilda Mary, née Bowman. He attended Sydney Grammar School, but left in 1924 to support his family after his father's death. He established himself in business as a skin-trader and then a wool-buyer. He was persuaded to enter politics by the difficulties businesses experienced during the Great Depression. In 1931, he attempted to gain pre-selection for the federal seat of Martin for the United Australia Party, losing to William Holman. He was selected the following year to contest a by-election for the safe Labor seat of East Sydney, losing to Lang Labor's Eddie Ward by only 173 votes. He married Georgina Bessie Dart at Chatswood on 6 June 1934.

Federal politics[edit]

Following Holman's death in 1934, 26-year-old McCall was selected to run for Martin. He had gained a reputation as an impressive public speaker, and was elected to Australian House of Representatives for Martin in the elections of that year. He was also elected to Sydney Municipal Council in 1935.

McCall was generally supportive of the government of his party leader Joseph Lyons, but became the leader of a back-bench revolt against Thomas Paterson's ruling in 1936 that Mrs Mabel Freer could not enter Australia. He was successful in persuading the government to reverse the decision, after revealing Paterson's mishandling of the case. In 1938 he enlisted in the Militia; he was commissioned in 1939 and in 1940 transferred to the Reserve of Officers. He supported an "all-out" effort during World War II against both Germany and Japan.

McCall, together with several other government back-benchers, became disillusioned with the leadership of Prime Minister Robert Menzies, and was disappointed when Menzies failed to form an all-party government with the Australian Labor Party after the 1940 election. On 28 August 1941, he declared that unless Menzies resigned, he would ensure that the government's majority in the House was removed. Menzies resigned the following day.

In the 1943 election, McCall was defeated as part of the Labor landslide that brought John Curtin to the premiership, losing to Fred Daly. He became a real estate agent, and in 1967 created a sensation when he offered almost $2 million for a site in Martin Place, Sydney.

Later life[edit]

McCall's wife Georgina died in 1961; on 24 October the following year, he married secretary Mavis Michele Dearing. Together with his chauffeur, McCall left Pittwater on 19 August 1968 in his speedboat; the vessel was found upturned and abandoned the next day near Collaroy, and the two men were presumed drowned. McCall was survived by his wife and daughter, together with the son and daughter of his first marriage.

References[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
William Holman
Member for Martin
1934-1943
Succeeded by
Fred Daly