Alexander Poynton

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The Honourable
Alexander Poynton
Alexander Poynton.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for South Australia
In office
30 March 1901 – 16 December 1903
Serving with Lee Batchelor, Langdon Bonython, Paddy Glynn, Frederick Holder, Charles Kingston, Vaiben Louis Solomon
Preceded by New seat
Succeeded by Seat abolished
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Grey
In office
16 December 1903 – 16 December 1922
Preceded by New seat
Succeeded by Andrew Lacey
Personal details
Born (1853-08-08)8 August 1853
Castlemaine, Victoria
Died 9 January 1935(1935-01-09) (aged 81)
Toorak Gardens, South Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Free Trade (1901–03)
Labor (1903–17)
Nationalist (1917–22)
Spouse(s) Harriet Brown
Occupation Shearer, miner

Alexander Poynton, OBE, (8 August 1853 – 9 January 1935), was an inaugural member of the Australian House of Representatives.

Born in Castlemaine, Victoria to Alexander, who took part in the Eureka Stockade rebellion, and Rosanna Poynton, Poynton left school at 14 to work as a shearer, station-hand and miner, and marry Harriet Brown on 15 July 1880 in Ballarat before moving to South Australia in 1887 and settling in Port Augusta, where he founded the South Australian Shearers Union in 1888.

With his support in the labour movement, Poynton unsuccessfully stood for the South Australian House of Assembly Electoral district of Newcastle before his election to the South Australian House of Assembly Electoral district of Flinders in 1893. In parliament Poynton served as Commissioner for Crown Lands in the Vaiben Solomon ministry in 1899.

In 1901 Poynton successfully stood for the Australian House of Representatives in the inaugural federal election as a Free Trade Party member for South Australia (which was not divided into electorates at the 1901 ballot). In 1903 he was elected as the Labor Party member for Grey, an electorate he represented until 1922.

During his time in parliament Poynton served variously as a member of the royal commission on stripper harvesters, chairman of committees, Treasurer, Minister for Home and Territories and Postmaster-General. Among his political achievements was the establishment of a railway between Port Augusta and Western Australia, for which he lobbied nearly 18 years.

During World War I Poynton was a strong supporter of conscription and, following fiery internal party debates on the issue, Poynton left the ALP in November 1916 in support of Labor leader and Prime Minister Billy Hughes to help found first the National Labor Party and later the Nationalist Party. Appointed OBE in 1920 for his work on repatriation issues, Poynton was defeated at the 1922 election.

He died in Toorak Gardens and was buried in North Road Cemetery. His wife, a son and four daughters survived him.


Political offices
Preceded by
William Higgs
Treasurer of Australia
Succeeded by
Sir John Forrest
Preceded by
Paddy Glynn
Minister for Home and Territories
Succeeded by
George Pearce
Preceded by
George Wise
Succeeded by
William Gibson
Parliament of Australia
New division Member for South Australia
Served alongside: Batchelor, Bonython,
Glynn, Holder, Kingston, Solomon
Divided into single-
member divisions
New division Member for Grey
Succeeded by
Andrew Lacey