Hugh Main

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The Honourable
Hugh Main
Minister for Agriculture
In office
16 May 1932 – 1 April 1938
Preceded by Bill Dunn
Succeeded by Albert Reid
Minister for Forests
In office
16 May 1932 – 17 June 1932
Preceded by Bill Dunn
Succeeded by Roy Vincent
Personal details
Born (1883-08-22)22 August 1883
Ardrossan, Ayrshire, Scotland
Died 27 August 1961(1961-08-27) (aged 78)
Cootamundra, New South Wales, Australia
Resting place Cootamundra cemetery
Political party Progressive (1920 – 1927
Country Party (1927 – 1957)
Spouse(s) Joan Helen Trethgarten
Children 2 daughters and 1 son
Awards BWM Medal
British War Medal
Ribbon of the VM
Victory Medal
Military service
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Australian Imperial Forces
Years of service 1916 – 1919
Rank Private
Main was honourably discharged as a Private, despite attaining the rank of Sergeant during service.[1]
Unit 20th Battallion
Battles/wars World War I

Hugh Main (22 August 1883 – 27 August 1961) was an Australian politician. He was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1920 until 1938, representing the electorates of Cootamundra (1920–1927) and Temora (1927–1938). Initially elected as a Progressive, he was a member of the party's rural "True Blues" faction that by 1927 had evolved into the Country Party.[2]

Early years and military career[edit]

Main was born on the west coast of Scotland, some sources state at Ardrossan,[3] others at Saltcoats,[4] and was educated at Tonbridge School in England and St Peter's College and Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia. He worked as an orchardist at Clare for a time, before establishing a wheat and wool property at Bethungra in New South Wales around 1906. He was also a successful breeder of thoroughbred racehorses. Main enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1916, and saw active service in France during World War I, rising to the rank of sergeant. He returned to his Bethungra farm in 1919 with a highly regarded service record.[5]

Political career[edit]

Main entered politics for the first time at the 1920 state election, when he was endorsed as a Progressive for multi-member Cootamundra elected as the third member ahead of the sitting member and premier, W. A. Holman.[6] He campaigned hard on rural issues, distanced himself from city interests and won in one of the largest upsets in New South Wales history when he defeated the incumbent Premier, Nationalist William Holman, for the third and final seat. As a Progressive MLA, he was one of the "True Blues" led by (Sir) Michael Bruxner and D. H. Drummond who broke with the party leadership in 1921 to oppose a coalition with the Nationalists for the 1922 election. He was re-elected in 1922 and 1925 largely under the banner of the rural faction, and joined the other "True Blues" in joining the nascent Country Party in 1927. After the abolition of the multi-member system, Main contested and won the new electorate of Temora.

The conservatives in New South Wales won a landslide victory in 1932 under Nationalist leader Bertram Stevens, and Main was one of several Country Party MLAs invited to hold portfolios in a new coalition ministry. He became Minister for Agriculture on 16 May 1932 ; he also held the position of Minister for Forests for a brief period.[6] In his new role, he aggressively pursued rural interests, including the development of improved farming infrastructure, the protection of small farmers, and reviewing legislation relevant to farming interests.[7] He held the position until 1 April 1938, when he retired from both the ministry and from parliament.[6] He was succeeded in Temora by Doug Dickson, a future deputy leader of the Country Party.

Life after politics[edit]

In 1938, Main retired to his farm after leaving politics, but continued to be involved in the Country Party, and served on its executive council from 1956 to 1957. He died at Cootamundra on 27 August 1961 and was buried at Cootamundra cemetery with Presbyterian forms.[3][4][6][8]


  1. ^ "Hugh Main – Discovering Anzacs". National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Davey, Paul (2006). The Nationals: The Progressive, Country, and National Party in New South Wales. Federation Press. p. 29. ISBN 1-86287-526-X. 
  3. ^ a b "The Hon. Hugh Main". Former Members. Parliament of New South Wales. 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Main, Hugh (1883 - 1961)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. 1986. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Davey, Paul (2006). p. 14.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ a b c d McDonald, D. I. "Main, Hugh (1883–1961)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 
  7. ^ Davey, Paul (2006). p. 114.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Green, Antony (2007). "New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007". Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 25 June 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
William Holman
Member for Cootamundra

1920 – 1927
Served alongside:
Loughlin, G. McGirr, J. McGirr, Hoad
Succeeded by
Ken Hoad
Preceded by
New seat
Member for Temora

1927 – 1938
Succeeded by
Doug Dickson