Anderson Dawson

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The Honourable
Anderson Dawson
14th Premier of Queensland
In office
1 December 1899 – 7 December 1899
Preceded by James Dickson
Succeeded by Robert Philp
Constituency Charters Towers
Minister for Defence
In office
27 April 1904 – 18 August 1904
Prime Minister Chris Watson
Preceded by Austin Chapman
Succeeded by James McCay
Australian Senator for Queensland
In office
30 March 1901 – 31 December 1906
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for Charters Towers
In office
13 May 1893 – 11 June 1901
Preceded by Robert Sayers
Succeeded by John Burrows
Personal details
Born (1863-07-16)16 July 1863
Rockhampton, Queensland
Died 20 July 1910(1910-07-20) (aged 47)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Resting place Toowong Cemetery
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Caroline Ryan née Quin
Occupation Union organiser, Journalist, Gold miner
Religion Church of England

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]

Early life[edit]

Dawson was born on 16 July 1863 at Rockhampton, Queensland, the son of Andrewson Dawson and his wife Jane (née Smith).[2] 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.[3] 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.[4][5]


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 Chris Watson formed the first Federal Labor government, Dawson was given the portfolio of Minister for Defence.[4][5]

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 which split the Labor vote.[4] He lost his seat to the Labor candidate John Burrows.

Later life[edit]

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

Anderson Dawson was admitted to the Brisbane General Hospital on 6 July 1910 and was expected to recover, but died of alcoholism on 20 July 1910.[4][6] He was buried in Toowong Cemetery on 21 July 1910.[7]


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 Registrar-General's Index of Births, 1863/C992
  3. ^ Queensland State Archives Item ID268111, Register - admissions No. 510
  4. ^ a b c d Murphy, D. J. (1981). "Dawson, Andrew (1863 - 1910)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ "The Hon. A. Dawson.". Queensland Times (Ipswich) (Qld. : 1909 - 1954) (Ipswich (Qld).: National Library of Australia). 21 July 1910. p. 7 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  7. ^ Dawson, Andrew (Anderson) — Brisbane City Council Grave Location Search

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
Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by
Robert Sayers
Member for Charters Towers
1893 – 1901
Succeeded by
John Burrows