Richard Arthur

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Richard Arthur (25 October 1865 – 21 May 1932) was an Australian politician, social reformer and medical practitioner.

Early life[edit]

Arthur was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, England and educated at Dover College. He received a Master of Arts from the University of St Andrews (1885) and MB and ChM from the University of Edinburgh (1888). He worked in the slums of Edinburgh, but contracted typhoid fever. He met and married his wife in Australia in 1890. He returned to Europe and studied hypnotism in Paris, which earned him an MD from the University of Edinburgh in 1891. After again becoming ill working in the slums of London, he returned to Australia and established a practice in the Sydney suburb of Mosman, specialising in eye, ear-nose-and-throat, and dental work. He was a director of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital from 1917 to 1920 and from 1927 to 1931 and of Sydney Hospital from 1924 to 1932.[1]

Political career[edit]

Arthur was elected in 1904 to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as member for Middle Harbour, representing the Liberal and Reform Party. He became an early advocate of child endowment in 1916 and was a strong supporter of closer settlement and assisted immigration to reduce the Japanese threat. From 1920 to 1927, he represented North Shore. He was chairman of the 1923 Royal Commission on Lunacy Law and Administration and, as a eugenicist, recommended special training and institutions for "defectives". He represented Mosman from 1927 to 1932 and was Minister for Public Health from 1927 to 1930 during the Bavin Government,[2] but he failed to carry a mental defectives bill.[1]

Arthur died in Mosman and was survived by his wife, son and two daughters.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Roe, Michael. "Arthur, Richard (1865–1932)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 12 April 2007. 
  2. ^ "Dr Richard Arthur (1865–1932)". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 16 April 2007. 
Parliament of New South Wales
New district Member for Middle Harbour
1904 – 1920
District abolished
New district Member for North Shore
1920 – 1927
With: Cocks/Kay/Tonge, Murphy, Reid/Fell, Weaver/Reid
District abolished
New district Member for Mosman
1927 – 1932
Succeeded by
Herbert Lloyd
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Stuart-Robertson
Minister for Public Health
1927 – 1930
Succeeded by
James McGirr
as Minister for Health