Bill Spooner (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Right Honourable
Sir William Spooner
Sir William Spooner.jpg
Senator for New South Wales
In office
22 February 1950 – 14 July 1965
Succeeded by Bob Cotton
Personal details
Born (1897-12-23)23 December 1897
Surry Hills, New South Wales
Died 14 July 1966(1966-07-14) (aged 68)
Manly, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Catherine Frier Vera Bogle
Relations Eric Spooner (brother)
Occupation Economist
Military service
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Australian Imperial Force (1915–18)
Australian Flying Corps (1918–19)
Years of service 1915–1919
Rank Second Lieutenant
Unit 5th Field Ambulance (1915–17)
Battles/wars First World War
Awards Military Medal

Sir William Henry Spooner, KCMG, MM, PC (23 December 1897 – 14 July 1966) was an Australian politician.

Early life and war service[edit]

Spooner was born in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills and was educated at Christ Church School. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at the outbreak of the First World War in June 1914, although under-age and served at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. He was awarded the Military Medal in September 1917. In 1918 he joined the Australian Flying Corps and was commissioned a second lieutenant, before he completed his war service in August 1919. He established the accounting firm of Hungerford, Spooner & Co in 1922 with his brother Eric, who later became a United Australia Party Minister for War Organisation of Industry from June to October 1941. He studied for a diploma of economics at the University of Sydney, graduating in 1923. He married Catherine Frier Vera Bogle in April 1924.[1]

Political career[edit]

Spooner helped establish the Liberal Party of Australia, after the collapse of the United Australia Party in 1944 and became the first president of its New South Wales branch. He was elected to the Australian Senate in the December 1949 election and shortly after appointed Minister for Social Services in Robert Menzies' first post-war ministry, despite not taking office as a senator until 22 February 1950. In May 1951, he became Minister for National Development and held that position until his resignation from the ministry in June 1964. His portfolio was responsible for policy towards the mining industry, especially coal, oil, uranium and iron ore. He also oversaw the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, the Australian Atomic Energy Commission, the River Murray Commission, the Joint Coal Board and some development projects in northern Australia. From 1958 until 1964, he was Vice-President of the Executive Council. He resigned from the Senate in July 1965.[1]

Spooner was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1963 and a privy counsellor in 1966. He died of cancer in July 1966 at Manly Hospital, survived by his wife, a son and two daughters.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Starr, Graeme (2000). "Spooner, Sir William Henry (1897–1966)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Nick McKenna
Minister for Social Services
Succeeded by
Athol Townley
New title Minister for National Development
Succeeded by
David Fairbairn
Preceded by
Neil O'Sullivan
Vice-President of the Executive Council
Succeeded by
William McMahon
Party political offices
Preceded by
Neil O'Sullivan
Leader of the Liberal Party in the Senate
Succeeded by
Shane Paltridge