Arthur Robinson (Australian politician)

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Sir Arthur Robinson
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Wannon
In office
16 December 1903 – 12 December 1906
Preceded by Samuel Cooke
Succeeded by John McDougall
Personal details
Born (1872-04-23)23 April 1872
Carlton, Victoria
Died 17 May 1945(1945-05-17) (aged 73)
East Melbourne, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Political party Free Trade Party
Spouse(s) Annie Summers Puckle
Alma mater University of Melbourne
Occupation Barrister

Sir Arthur Robinson KCMG (23 April 1872 – 17 May 1945) was an Australian politician, at different times a member of the upper and lower houses of the Victorian parliament and a federal MP.

Early life[edit]

Robinson was born at Carlton, Victoria, the son of journalist Anthony Bennett Robinson and Harriet, née Barton, the sister of Sir Edmund Barton. He attended Scotch College (where he was later Chairman of the School Council) before studying law at the University of Melbourne. He became a barrister and solicitor in 1896, partnering William Bruce in the firm that was to become Arthur Robinson & Co. Robinson became known as a free trader and a conservative (in contrast to his uncle Edmund Barton), but he was also an ardent federalist. On 18 April 1899 he married Annie Summers Puckle at Malvern.


Robinson was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1900 for the seat of Dundas, but was defeated in 1902. Subsequently, he entered the Australian House of Representatives as the Free Trade member for Wannon in 1903, succeeding Samuel Cooke. He was defeated in 1906 by Labour, which ran a successful campaign focussing on his opposition to aspects relating to unionism in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Returning to state politics, he was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council for Melbourne South Province in 1912 and held his seat until his retirement in 1925, holding ministerial positions in the governments of Sir Alexander Peacock and Sir Harry Lawson.

Robinson was significantly involved in the State Electricity Commission, supporting Sir John Monash in its establishment. His experiences in state parliament also changed his enthusiasm for federalism into opposition to federal powers. He was also appointed a CMG in 1921 and a KCMG in 1923.

Following his retirement in 1925, Robinson attempted to re-enter the federal House of Representatives as the Nationalist candidate for Fawkner, but was defeated by his friend George Arnot Maxwell, who was elected as an independent. He was condemned by The Age as a "crusted Tory" and a "relic of a bygone age".

Later life[edit]

Robinson's wife Annie died in 1937, and he remarried on 20 February 1939 at Scotch College to Beverley Nelson Wood. He continued to be active in community until his death on 17 May 1945 at East Melbourne, survived by his wife, a son and daughter of his first marriage, and a son of his second.


Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Samuel Cooke
Member for Wannon
Succeeded by
John McDougall