William Browne (Queensland politician)

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The Honourable
Billy Browne
Billy Browne - Queensland Politician.png
Leader of the Opposition of Queensland
In office
16 July 1900 – 17 September 1903
Preceded by Anderson Dawson
Succeeded by Robert Philp
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for Croydon
In office
13 May 1893 – 12 April 1904
Preceded by New seat
Succeeded by William Murphy
Personal details
Born William Henry Browne
(1846-09-13)13 September 1846
Pimlico, London, England
Died 12 April 1904(1904-04-12) (aged 57)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Resting place Toowong Cemetery
Nationality English Australian
Political party Labour Party
Occupation Gold miner, Seaman

William Henry "Billy" Browne (13 September 1846 – 12 April 1904) was a gold miner and member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly.[1]


Browne was born in Pimlico, London, to parents William Henry Browne, a stone-sawyer, and his wife Eliza (née Barton). At age eleven he was at sea with the merchant navy, a position he held for the next nine years.[2]

He landed in Australia in 1866 and commenced gold mining at Araluen, New South Wales before working his trade at Gympie, Herberton and Croydon. It was in Croydon that he lost an eye in an accident in the mines.[2]

Unmarried,[2] he died in office of pneumonia and angina[2] in Brisbane in 1904 and his funeral proceeded from St John's Cathedral[2] to the Toowong Cemetery.[3]

Political career[edit]

Browne became president and secretary of the Amalgamated Miners' Association in Croydon, and was an alderman in the same town.[1]

In August 1890 Browne contested a by-election for the seat of Burke in the Queensland Legislative Assembly, but lost to John Hoolan by 24 votes. As secretary of the miner's union, he organised financial support for the shearers in the 1891 Australian shearers' strike.[2]

At the 1893 Queensland colonial elections, Browne, representing the Labour Party, won the new seat of Croydon, holding it till his death in 1904. He was Secretary for Mines & Public Instruction in the world's first socialist government in 1899, and Secretary for Mines & Public Works in 1903-1904. From 1900 until 1903 he was Chairman of the parliamentary Labour Party and opposition leader.[1]

Though not a forceful speaker, he was often heard in the house.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "Former Members". Parliament of Queensland. 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Browne, William Henry (1846–1904)Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  3. ^ Deceased Search — Brisbane City Council Grave Location Search. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
Political offices
Preceded by
Anderson Dawson
Leader of the Opposition of Queensland
Succeeded by
Robert Philp
Parliament of Queensland
New seat Member for Croydon
Succeeded by
William Murphy