|31st Premier of New South Wales|
30 April 1964 – 13 May 1965
|Preceded by||Bob Heffron|
|Succeeded by||Robert Askin|
|Born||8 August 1909
Wellington, New South Wales, Australia
|Died||28 July 1987 (aged 77)
Northbridge, New South Wales, Australia
|Political party||Australian Labor Party|
Jack Renshaw was born on 8 August 1909 near Wellington in central New South Wales. His parents were John Ignatius Renshaw and Ann Renshaw (née Reidy). When he was six his parents took up a selection near the town of Binnaway. Five years later his father died in a farm accident, leaving his widow to raise eight children. Following Ann Renshaw's remarriage the family prospered and came to own a fuel depot, stock and station agency and butchery in the town.
Renshaw was educated at Binnaway Central School, Patrician Brothers at Orange (where he lived with his grandmother), and then Holy Cross College at Ryde in north-western Sydney. After leaving school at the age of 14 he helped to run the family dairy property at Hampden Park, and also helped operate a milk run out of Binnaway.
Renshaw joined the Binnaway branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in 1930, and soon held office in the branch. He also served on the state and federal electorate councils in the area, including as President of the Gwydir Electorate Council from 1939 to 1949. He was active in local government, serving as an alderman in the Coonabarabran Shire Council from 1937 to 1944. From 1939 to 1940 he was Shire President, becoming the youngest shire president in Australia at the time. During the late 1930s he also held a position on the Northern Executive of the Wheat Growers' Union. In 1939 he volunteered for service in World War II but was rejected due to a defect in his eyesight.
Renshaw was encouraged to run for state parliament in the local seat of Castlereagh by William Scully, the federal member for Gwydir, after Renshaw had worked as campaign director for him. He was supported by the Premier, William McKell, who realised that Renshaw's strong local identity and links to the farming community would help him in an election. Renshaw stood in the 1941 election, winning the seat from the Country Party member, Alfred Yeo, who had held Castlereagh for the previous nine years. From 1945 to 1950 Renshaw was a member of the central executive of the NSW ALP.
Renshaw was appointed Secretary for Lands in 1950 under Premier James McGirr. Relying upon his strong knowledge of agricultural and rural issues, he aggressively prosecuted the case for Labor's policy of compulsory resumption of large properties so that they could be subdivided. At the time it was believed the land was being under-utilised by land speculators and large agricultural companies and that closer settlement would promote the development of rural districts and solve post-war food shortages. The policy was opposed by the wealthier graziers, represented in part by the Country Party and the United Farmers' Association.
Impressed by his handling of the closer settlement debate, the new Premier Joe Cahill promoted Renshaw to Secretary for Public Works in 1952. He also became Minister for Local Government in 1953, later transferring from Public Works to Minister for Highways in 1956. Renshaw went on to serve as Deputy Premier from 1959 to 1964 (when Bob Heffron was Premier), and Treasurer from 1959 to 1965. He also served as Minister for Lands from 1960 to 1961, Minister for Agriculture from 1961 to 1962 and Minister for Industrial Development and Decentralisation from 1962 to 1965.
Premier of New South Wales
When Heffron retired in April 1964, Renshaw became Premier. This tenure proved to be no more than a stopgap for a party which, after almost a quarter of a century in government, was tired. Of the 16 members in Renshaw's cabinet, six were aged 65 years or more, and most had held various ministries ever since 1941.
Renshaw's reign ended in May 1965, when for the first time in New South Wales history, the Liberals won power. The Liberal leader, Robert Askin, often used the slogan "Twenty-four years of Labor misrule." Renshaw resigned from the Labor leadership shortly after a second and more severe defeat, again by Askin, in 1968. (Former Deputy Premier Pat Hills succeeded him as leader, and held the office till 1973.) Nevertheless, Renshaw remained an important figure both in the state parliament and in Labor's ruling circles; he served as Treasurer during the first four years (1976–80) of Neville Wran's administration.
On 12 November 1942 Renshaw married Hilda May Wall, at St Canice’s Catholic Church, Elizabeth Bay; by her he had a son. Wall died in April 1964, just weeks before Renshaw was sworn in as Premier. His second wife, whom he married on 11 April 1966 at Holy Cross Catholic Church, Woollahra, was Marjorie (Meg) Mackay née Nolan (who had four children in total: one by Renshaw, three by a previous marriage). He died at the age of 77 in 1987 in the northern Sydney suburb of Northbridge.
- In the Australia Day Honours of 1979, he was named a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).
- John Renshaw Drive, a section of road in the Hunter Region, adjoining the Pacific Highway is named in Renshaw's honour.
- Turner, Ken (2005). "RENSHAW, John Brophy". In Clune, David; Turner, Ken. The Premiers of New South Wales, 1856-2005. 2, 1902-2005. Leichhardt: The Federation Press. pp. 333–347. ISBN 1-86287-549-9. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- "Mr John Brophy Renshaw (1909–1987)". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 8 April 2007.
- Dutton, Geoffrey and Harris, Max (eds.), Sir Henry, Bjelke, Don-Baby and Friends (Melbourne: Sun Books, 1971), p. 163.
- It's an Honour
- "NSW State Route 132". OzRoads. 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2010.