Les Wood (Australian politician)

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Les Wood
Leslie Arnold Wood - Queensland politician.jpg
Leader of the Opposition of Queensland
In office
28 August 1957 – 29 March 1958
Preceded byFrank Nicklin
Succeeded byJim Donald
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for East Toowoomba
In office
2 March 1946 – 3 May 1947
Preceded byHerbert Yeates
Succeeded byGordon Chalk
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for North Toowoomba
In office
29 Apr 1950 – 29 Mar 1958
Preceded byNew seat
Succeeded byJack Duggan
Personal details
Born
Leslie Arnold Wood

(1907-03-06)6 March 1907
Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
Died29 March 1958(1958-03-29) (aged 51)
Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
Resting placeDrayton and Toowoomba Cemetery
NationalityAustralian
Political partyLabor
Spouse(s)Anne Alice Margaret Reyment (m.1928 d.2001)
RelationsPeter Wood & Bill Wood (identical twin sons)
OccupationSchool teacher

Leslie Arnold "Les" Wood (6 March 1907 – 29 March 1958) was a school teacher and member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly.[1] He was the Leader of the Opposition in Queensland for seven months in 1957-1958.

Biography[edit]

Wood was born in Toowoomba, Queensland, to parents Joseph Emanuel Wood and his wife Fredrika Johanna Henrietta (née Hoepper). He was educated at Middle Ridge State School in Toowoomba before attending Maryborough Central State School and Maryborough Grammar School. He took up teaching at Maryborough West State School and then returned to Toowoomba to carry on his teaching duties at Newtown and East Toowoomba.[1]

From 1941 until 1945 he was a member of the AIF reaching the rank of Captain in the 3rd Division and saw service at Milne Bay, Madang, and Bougainville.[1]

On the 22nd Dec 1928 he married Anne Alice Margaret Reyment (died 2001)[2] and had three sons and one daughter including identical twins Bill and Peter who themselves went on to be members of the Queensland Legislative Assembly. He was a Past Master of the Melrose Masonic Lodge and a president and referee in the Toowoomba Rugby League. He was also a member of the Toowoomba Bowls Club and the RAOB.[1]

Wood died of a heart attack at his home in March 1958. He was given a state funeral,[3] the first time it was accorded to an opposition leader.[1] The funeral service was packed (Wood had been an exceptionally popular parliamentarian, esteemed even by his political opponents) and hundreds of people stood outside the church to pay their respects. There were 140 cars in the funeral cortege[1] as it made its way to the Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery for his burial.[4]

Leslie Arnold Wood's headstone at Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery

Political career[edit]

Wood, for the Labor Party, won the 1946 by-election for the seat of East Toowoomba following the death of Herbert Yeates the previous December.[5] There was a state election the next year however and Wood lost the seat to future Deputy Premier and for 1 week, Queensland Premier, Gordon Chalk.[6]

Out of politics for three years, Wood contested the new seat of North Toowoomba at the 1950 state election, and defeated the Liberal candidate, Ralph Weppner.[7][8] He held North Toowoomba until his death in 1958.[1]

In 1957, the Labor Party split with Premier Vince Gair and most of his Cabinet being expelled from the party. This left Jack Duggan as the new Labor leader but Gair lost supply and an election was called for 3 August 1957. Duggan lost his seat and Wood found himself leader of what was left of the Labor Party. He held the role until his death the next year and on 1 April 1958, parliament gave glowing praise to Wood in a motion of condolence.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Former Members". Parliament of Queensland. 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  2. ^ Deceased searchToowoomba Regional Council Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  3. ^ "A.L.P, Leader To Be Given State Funeral". The Canberra Times. 31, (9, 442). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 31 March 1958. p. 2. Retrieved 26 March 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ Deceased searchToowoomba Regional Council Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  5. ^ "LAB. WINS DOWNS ELECTION". Sunday Mail (828). Queensland, Australia. 3 March 1946. p. 1. Retrieved 26 March 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "Former Members". Parliament of Queensland. 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  7. ^ About RalphUniversity of Southern Queensland Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  8. ^ "This is how you at yesterday's election". Sunday Mail (1044). Queensland, Australia. 30 April 1950. p. 3. Retrieved 26 March 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ Motion Of CondolenceHansard. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
Political offices
Preceded by
Frank Nicklin
Leader of the Opposition of Queensland
1957–1958
Succeeded by
Jim Donald
Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by
Herbert Yeates
Member for East Toowoomba
1946–1947
Succeeded by
Gordon Chalk
New seat Member for North Toowoomba
1950–1958
Succeeded by
Jack Duggan