John Arthur (politician)

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The Honourable
John Arthur
John Andrew Arthur.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Bendigo
In office
31 May 1913 – 9 December 1914
Preceded by John Quick
Succeeded by Alfred Hampson
Personal details
Born (1875-08-15)15 August 1875
Castlemaine, Victoria
Died 9 December 1914(1914-12-09) (aged 39)
Parkville, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Alma mater University of Melbourne
Occupation Barrister

John Andrew Arthur (15 August 1875 – 9 December 1914) was an Australian politician and briefly Minister for External Affairs.[1]

Arthur was born in Castlemaine, Victoria, son of a goldminer and spent his childhood in several Victorian goldmining towns. He won a state scholarship allowing him to attend Grenville College, Ballarat for three years. He graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Arts in 1895. He was a brilliant student and completed a Master of Arts in 1897, a Bachelor of Laws in 1898 and a Master of Laws in 1901. He became a tutor at Queen's College in logic and philosophy, political economy and history, and law and was admitted to the bar in 1903. He became a prominent lawyer in the new federal courts, especially the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration and represented the Agricultural Implement Makers' Union in the Harvester case which led to the basic wage concept that was the basis of wage setting in Australia until the 1990s.

Political career[edit]

In 1913 election he just beat the incumbent John Quick to win the Australian House of Representatives seat of Bendigo for the Australian Labor Party. He was noted for his contribution to parliamentary debates and continued his career as an industrial advocate, often travelling from the then seat of the parliament in Melbourne to Sydney to argue cases. Campaigning for the 1914 election, combined with his court work undermined his health and following the election of the Fisher government he was confined to bed. He attended caucus on 17 September and was elected to the ministry and sworn in as Minister for External Affairs on the same day. He was forced back to bed and died on 9 December 1914 of kidney disease at his home in the Melbourne suburb of Parkville. He was survived by his wife, two daughters and two sons.


  1. ^ Thompson, John R. (1979). "Arthur, John Andrew (1875–1914)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 3 October 2007. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Paddy Glynn
Minister for External Affairs
Succeeded by
Hugh Mahon
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
John Quick
Member for Bendigo
Succeeded by
Alfred Hampson