Keith Wilson (South Australian politician)

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Sir Keith Wilson
Keith Wilson-1950-an23530385.jpg
Sir Keith Cameron Wilson, 1950
Senator for South Australia
In office
1 July 1938 – 30 June 1944
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Sturt
In office
10 December 1949 – 29 May 1954
Preceded by New seat
Succeeded by Norman Makin
In office
10 December 1955 – 31 October 1966
Preceded by Norman Makin
Succeeded by Ian Wilson
Personal details
Born (1900-09-03)3 September 1900
Adelaide, South Australia
Died 28 September 1987(1987-09-28) (aged 87)
Adelaide, South Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party United Australia Party
Liberal (1944–1966)
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Bonython
(Lady Elizabeth Wilson CBE)
Relations Sir John Lavington Bonython (Father-in-law)
Children Ian Wilson
Occupation Politician
Profession Lawyer

Sir Keith Cameron Wilson (3 September 1900 – 28 September 1987) was a lawyer and Australian politician, sitting in both houses of federal parliament.

Born 3 September 1900 in Adelaide, a son of lawyer A. T. K. Wilson (died 15 August 1925) and his wife Lilian (née Laurence), he attended St Peter's Collegiate School, Adelaide, and studied law at the University of Adelaide.[1][2] His grandfather, C. A. Wilson, and great-grandfather, Thomas Wilson, were also lawyers who practised in South Australia.[3]

In 1930 he married Elizabeth (Betty) Hornabrook Bonython (25 January 1907 – 25 September 2008), born in Adelaide, the eldest daughter of Adelaide Advertiser editor, and Lord mayor of Adelaide, Sir John Lavington Bonython (1875–1960) and his first wife Blanche Ada Bray (1881–1908).[4]

In the Australian federal election, 1934 he was, with J. L. Price, nominated by the Liberal and Country League for the seat of Boothby.[5][6] Price was the winning candidate.

In the Australian federal election, 1937, Keith was elected a Senator for South Australia for the United Australia Party, serving from 1938 to 1944. In 1940 he joined the army, continuing to serve in the Senate.[2] He was not re-elected in 1943, so when his term ended, he went on active service and became a "Rat of Tobruk", serving with the 2/7th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, in North Africa, and subsequently in Borneo.[7]

After his return, he stood in the 1949 election for the Liberal Party of Australia (which had absorbed the UAP in 1944) as its candidate in the newly created seat of Sturt, and won. He held Sturt until his defeat by Labor's Norman Makin in 1954. A redistribution ahead of the 1955 election saw most of Sturt's Labor-friendly territory shifted to newly created Bonython, which made Sturt notionally Liberal. Makin opted to contest Bonython, and Wilson retook Sturt on a large swing. He held the seat until his retirement in 1966 which resulted in his son, Ian, gaining preselection for the seat, which he subsequently won and held for over 20 years.

Elizabeth was very active in community affairs, and served on the boards of a number of organisations.[8] In recognition of her activities, she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1946,[9] and elevated to Commander of the Order (CBE) in 1959.[10]

Keith Wilson was knighted on 1 January 1966.[11][12] He died in Adelaide on 28 September 1987.[13] He was the last surviving member of the 1937-1944 Senate.

Lady Wilson turned 100 years old on 25 January 2007; she died on 25 September 2008, aged 101.


  • "Liberal and Country League: the origins and development", by Sir Keith Wilson; Located at Barr Smith Library, University of Adelaide.


  1. ^ Papers of Sir Keith Wilson and Lady Elizabeth Wilson, 1928-2001, National Library of Australia
  2. ^ a b 1949 election – Sturt, SA, Keith Cameron Wilson
  3. ^ "Obituary (A. T. K. Wilson)". The Register. National Library of Australia. 17 August 1925. p. 12. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  4. ^ (Blanche Ada Bray (1881–1908) died in childbirth bearing Ada Bray Bonython (1908–1965))
  5. ^ "Advertising". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 15 September 1934. p. 15. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "South Australia.". The Advocate. National Library of Australia. 24 August 1934. p. 5. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Commonwealth Members of Parliament who have served in war". Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. Retrieved 28 September 2007. 
  8. ^ Richard Carruthers, Family tree, Richard Carruthers in unknown series (n.p.:, 1986).
  9. ^ The Order of the British Empire – Member, Elizabeth Hornabrook Wilson, 1 January 1946, Citation: Charities
  10. ^ The Order of the British Empire – Commander, Elizabeth Hornabrook Wilson, 13 June 1959, Citation: Social welfare
  11. ^ Knight Bachelor, Keith Cameron Wilson, 1 January 1966, Citation: Public services & social welfare
  12. ^ Knights Bachelor, second supplement to The London Gazette of 31 December 1965, No.43655, pg. 37
  13. ^ Death of Sir Keith Wilson, Hansard, 7 October 1987,
Keith Wilson-1938-an23530266.jpg
Keith Wilson-1941-an2353027.jpg
Keith Wilson-1950-an23530385.jpg
Parliament of Australia
New division Member for Sturt
Succeeded by
Norman Makin
Preceded by
Norman Makin
Member for Sturt
Succeeded by
Ian Wilson