Willie Kelly (politician)

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The Honourable
Willie Kelly
William Henry Kelly.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Wentworth
In office
16 December 1903 – 3 November 1919
Preceded by William McMillan
Succeeded by Walter Marks
Personal details
Born (1877-12-01)1 December 1877
Sydney, New South Wales
Died 27 January 1960(1960-01-27) (aged 82)
Camperdown, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party Free Trade (1903–06)
Anti-Socialist (1906–09)
Liberal (1909–17)
Nationalist (1917–19)
Spouse(s) Olive Miller

William Henry "Willie" Kelly (1 December 1877 – 27 January 1960) was an Australian politician.


Kelly was born in Sydney and educated at All Saints College, Bathurst, and Eton College from 1893 to 1896. He married Olive Miller (better-known under the stage name of Olive Morrell) in London in January 1908.[1]

In 1903 Kelly was elected to seat of Wentworth in the Australian House of Representatives, representing the Free Trade Party. From June 1913 to September 1914 he was Minister without portfolio and acting minister for home affairs in Joseph Cook's Commonwealth Liberal Party Ministry. He reversed King O'Malley's decision to build Walter Burley Griffin's plan for Canberra using the departmental plan and instead appointed Griffin as Federal capital director of design and construction. He also negotiated a plan for standardisation of Australia's rail gauge, but this was scrapped when the Fisher government came to power in September 1914. He was in opposition until the formation of the Nationalist Government in February 1917. He did not get a ministry in the Hughes government and retired at the 1919 election.[1]

Kelly separated from his wife, who took their daughter back to England. He died at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in the Sydney suburb of Camperdown,[1] aged eighty-two. He was the last surviving member of Joseph Cook's Cabinet, as well as the last surviving MP who served during Alfred Deakin's three tenures as Prime Minister, as well as during the Prime Ministerships of Chris Watson, George Reid and Andrew Fisher's first tenure.

His younger brother was the composer and oarsman Frederick Septimus Kelly.


  1. ^ a b c Rutledge, Martha (1983). "Kelly, William Henry (1877 - 1960)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
William McMillan
Member for Wentworth
Succeeded by
Walter Marks