Cyril Chambers

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The Honourable
Cyril Chambers
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Adelaide
In office
21 August 1943 – 14 October 1958
Preceded by Fred Stacey
Succeeded by Joe Sexton
Personal details
Born (1897-02-28)28 February 1897
Thebarton, South Australia
Died 3 October 1975(1975-10-03) (aged 78)
Hawthorn, South Australia
Nationality Australia Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) 1) Hilda Dorothy Mummery
2) Salamas Rickman, née Koodak
3) Janet Sanderson Pullen
Occupation Dentist

Cyril Chambers CBE (28 February 1898 – 3 October 1975) was an Australian and Minister for the Army.

Chambers was born in the Adelaide suburb of Thebarton and educated at St John the Baptist's School, Thebarton, and Hayward's Academy, Adelaide. In 1919 he became a dentist. He was mayor of Henley and Grange from 1932 to 1934. In 1938, he married Hilda Dorothy Mummery. During World War II, he served in the 3rd Field Ambulance in New Guinea, but was soon invalided back to Adelaide.[1]

Political career[edit]

Chambers was elected as the Labor member of the House of Representatives seat of Adelaide at the 1943 election and was appointed Minister for the Army following the 1946 election in the second Chifley ministry. In July 1949 he ordered troops to mine coal in the New South Wales to break a strike by the then communist-influenced Australasian Coal and Shale Employees' Federation. The Labor government lost power at the 1949 election.[1]

Chambers' first wife had died in 1943 and in December 1949, he married a divorcee, Salamas Rickman, despite his generally strict Catholicism. She died in 1954 and in October 1956 he married Janet Sanderson Pullen. In 1951, he refused to take part in Labor's campaign against the 1951 anti-communist referendum and would have been expelled from the party except for the intervention of party leader H.V. Evatt. In August 1957, he attacked Evatt's leadership and was expelled from the party. He was readmitted in June 1958, but by that time Joe Sexton had already won preselection for Adelaide. It was too late for Chambers to nominate for another seat, and he was forced to retire.[1]

Chambers worked as an immigration selection officer in Belfast, Rome and Scotland from 1959 to 1962 and then worked in Adelaide as a welfare consultant. In 1968, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). He died in Hawthorn, South Australia, survived by his third wife, but he had no children.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Cameron, Clyde (1993). "Chambers, Cyril (1897 - 1975)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Frank Forde
Minister for the Army
Succeeded by
Josiah Francis
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Fred Stacey
Member for Adelaide
Succeeded by
Joe Sexton