Ninian Melville

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Ninian Melville, Junior (29 December 1843 – 26 June 1897) was a colourful Australian politician in the late nineteenth century.

The son of a Scottish cabinet maker who had been transported to Australia for stealing clothes, Melville was born in Sydney and followed his father into the furniture making business. Unfortunately, the business collapsed in 1866 under pressure from foreign imports and Melville began organising the unemployed to protest and demand protection for the industry.[1]

He moved to Melbourne the following year where he put his carpentry skills to use with an undertaker and also unsuccessfully contested a seat in the Victorian Parliament. He returned to Sydney in 1874 and, campaigning on a protectionist platform, he eventually won the seat of Northumberland in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1880 which he held until 1894. He was elected Chairman of Committees in 1886 but never served as a minister.[2] His period in office was colourful including an unproven allegation of bribery and being described by the premier Sir Henry Parkes as the "veriest charlatan that ever lived" and by poet Henry Kendall as "that immense imposter".[1]

Melville was also active in local politics spending time on Newtown Council, where he was elected mayor in 1882, and Ashfield Council, where he was elected mayor in 1896. When he died in his Summer Hill home in 1897, he was survived by his wife Mary, two sons and two daughters.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Mansfield, Bruce E. (1974). "Melville, Ninian (1843 - 1897)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "Mr Ninian (junior) Melville (1843 - 1897)". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Thomas Hungerford
Member for Northumberland
1880
Succeeded by
Himself
Preceded by
Himself
Member for Northumberland
1880–1887
With: Turner/Hungerford/Tighe/Luscombe/Creer
Succeeded by
Himself
Preceded by
Himself
Member for Northumberland
1887–1894
With: Walker, Creer/Edden
Succeeded by
Richard Stevenson
Civic offices
Preceded by
Charles Whately
Mayor of Newtown
1882 – 1883
Succeeded by
Charles Boots
Preceded by
John Upward
Mayor of Ashfield
1895
Succeeded by
Richard Stanton