Gregor McGregor

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The Honourable
Gregor McGregor
Gregor McGregor1.jpg
Senator for South Australia
In office
30 March 1901 – 30 July 1914
Personal details
Born (1848-10-18)18 October 1848
Kilmun, Argyll, Scotland
Died 13 August 1914(1914-08-13) (aged 65)
Unley, South Australia
Nationality Scottish Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Julia Anna Steggall
Sarah Ann Brock nee Ritchie
Occupation Labourer, unionist

The Honourable Gregor McGregor (18 October 1848 – 13 August 1914) was an influential Australian politician and trade union leader of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Born in Kilmun, Argyll, Scotland, McGregor worked in the Glasgow ship building yards prior to his emigration to the colony of South Australia in 1877. Initially working as a builder's labourer and a gardener, McGregor became involved in the union movement, rising to the position of President and Secretary of the United Builders Labourers' Association and President of the Trades and Labour Council, which inevitably led to his involvement in the formation of the Labor Party, and served as President of the United Labor Party in 1893/94.[1]

Although suffering from deteriorating eyesight that would eventually leave him legally blind, McGregor became one of the first Australian Labor Members of Parliament when he was elected as a Member of the South Australian Legislative Council in 1894, serving in the Council until his resignation in May 1901 in order to accept a position as a Senator for South Australia. He compensated for his blindness with a memory described as "astounding", able to recite lengthy passages perfectly after hearing them read, usually by his mother-in law.[2] As a Senator, McGregor served in Australian Labor Party government cabinets as Vice-President of the Executive Council prior to his death in 1914. He served as the party's first leader in the Senate and first Deputy Leader (at the time, the two posts were equivalent).[1]

McGregor married twice but had no children. He died of a heart condition at his home in Unley, survived by his second wife and stepson.[1]

Group photograph of all Federal Labour[3] Party MPs elected at the inaugural 1901 election, including Chris Watson, Andrew Fisher, Billy Hughes, Frank Tudor, and King O'Malley. McGregor is seated in a chair at front, third from left.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Grainger, G. C. (1986). "McGregor, Gregor (1848 - 1914)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  2. ^ Simms, M. (ed.) 1901: The forgotten election. University of Queensland Press, Brisbane. ISBN 0-7022-3302-1.
  3. ^ As noted further on in the article the spelling of "Labor" in "Australian Labor Party" was not adopted by the party until 1912.
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Playford
Vice-President of the Executive Council
Succeeded by
James Drake
Preceded by
Robert Best
Vice-President of the Executive Council
Succeeded by
Edward Millen
Preceded by
Edward Millen
Vice-President of the Executive Council
Succeeded by
James McColl
Party political offices
New title Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party
Succeeded by
Billy Hughes
Leader of the Australian Labor Party in the Senate
Succeeded by
George Pearce