Rex Patterson

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Rex Patterson
Minister for Agriculture
In office
21 October 1975 – 11 November 1975
Preceded byKen Wriedt
Succeeded byIan Sinclair
Minister for Northern Australia
In office
June 1975 – 21 October 1975
Preceded byhimself
Succeeded byPaul Keating
Minister for the Northern Territory
In office
19 October 1973 – 21 October 1975
Preceded byhimself
Succeeded byPaul Keating
Minister for Northern Development
In office
20 December 1972 – June 1975
Preceded byLance Barnard
Succeeded byhimself
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Dawson
In office
26 February 1966 – 13 December 1975
Preceded byGeorge Shaw
Succeeded byRay Braithwaite
Personal details
Born(1927-01-08)8 January 1927
Bundaberg, Queensland
Died13 April 2016(2016-04-13) (aged 89)
Mackay, Queensland[1]
Political partyAustralian Labor Party
Alma materUniversity of Queensland
Australian National University
University of Illinois
University of Chicago

Rex Alan Patterson (8 January 1927 – 13 April 2016) was an Australian politician. He was a member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and held ministerial office in the Whitlam Government as Minister for Northern Development (1972–1975), the Northern Territory (1973–1975), Northern Australia (1975), and Agriculture (1975).

Early life, war service and education[edit]

Patterson was born in Bundaberg, Queensland on 8 January 1927.[2] He enlisted for war service on 22 February 1945 in Brisbane, Queensland, during the final months of World War II.[2] He served with the Royal Australian Air Force and was discharged on 25 September 1945.[2]

He was educated at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago.[3]

Political career[edit]

Patterson was elected as an Australian Labor Party member for the House of Representatives seat of Dawson, Queensland at a by-election in 1966. When the Whitlam government was elected at the December 1972 election, he was appointed Minister for Northern Development, responsible for the Department of Northern Development, charged with "overall policy and co-ordination in the development of all of Australia north of the 26th parallel". In this role, Patterson was concerned with the Australian sugar and beef industries as well as the specialised development and utilisation of land, water and minerals in northern Australia.[4]

On 19 October 1973, he was sworn in as Minister for the Northern Territory by Queen Elizabeth II, the only occasion when an Australian minister has been sworn in by the Monarch of Australia directly (rather than by the Governor-General of Australia).[5]

On Christmas Day, 1974, the day after Cyclone Tracy, he flew into Darwin with Major-General Alan Stretton and they took responsibility for rebuilding Darwin. In June 1975, Patterson's portfolios were combined and retitled as Minister for Northern Australia.

On 14 October 1975, following Rex Connor's resignation from the ministry, he became Minister for Agriculture. He lost this position when the government was dismissed on 11 November, and lost his seat in the subsequent election.[3][6]

Personal life[edit]

Patterson died on 13 April 2016.[1]


  1. ^ a b Kippen, Troy (13 April 2016). "Former politician Rex Patterson has died in Mackay aged 89". Daily Mercury. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Service record – Patterson, Rex Alan". WW2 Nominal Roll. Department of Veterans' Affairs, Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  3. ^ a b Who's who in Australia. North Melbourne: Crown Content. 2008. p. 2303. ISBN 978-1-74095-160-9.
  4. ^ CA 1483: Department of Northern Development, Central Office, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 19 March 2016
  5. ^ Jenny Hocking, Gough Whitlam: His Time Updated Edition. Retrieved 20 September 2015
  6. ^ "Members of the House of Representatives since 1901". Parliamentary Handbook. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 17 November 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
Political offices
Preceded by Minister for Northern Development
Merged into Northern
Australia portfolio
Preceded by Minister for the Northern Territory/
Minister for Northern Australia

Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Agriculture
Succeeded by
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by Member for Dawson
Succeeded by