Harry Whitlam (1884 – 1961) Commonwealth crown solicitor
Chairman of the Australian Commission of the Churches on International Affairs and a good friend of the Australian Student Christian Movement in its postwar immigration and international concerns, Harry Whitlam was enlisted to draft a constitution for the Australian Council of Churches. His son Gough was to become prime minister.
Harry Whitlam, Commonwealth crown solicitor, was born on 3 April 1884 at Prahran, Melbourne, eldest of five children of Victorian-born parents Henry Hugh Gough Whitlam, clerk, and his wife Janet Turnbull, née Steele. Educated at Armadale State School and, on a scholarship, at Wesley College, Fred took first place in the Victorian Public Service clerical examination in December 1900 and entered the Department of Lands and Survey on 8 July 1901.
He transferred to the Crown Solicitor’s Office and in 1911 joined the Commonwealth Public Service in the land tax branch of the Treasury. Having gained accountancy qualifications and studied at the University of Melbourne (LL.B., 1914), he was appointed to a professional position in the Commonwealth Crown Solicitor’s Office in 1913.
At the Collins Street Baptist Church on 10 September 1914 he married Martha Maddocks (d.1958). Their daughter Freda was to become principal of Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Croydon, Sydney, and later moderator of the New South Wales Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia; their son Gough was to become prime minister.
In the small Canberra community, the successive Whitlam family homes were notable for well-stocked libraries, the hospitality of their imposing hostess, and the scholarship and kindly courtesy of her husband. Whitlam contributed widely to civic life. He lectured in commercial law at Canberra University College, served on the college council and became president of the University Association of Canberra. President of the Young Men’s Christian Association of Canberra, he was also a member of the Canberra Grammar School council.
Chairman of the Australian Commission of the Churches on International Affairs and a good friend of the Australian Student Christian Movement in its postwar immigration and international concerns, Whitlam was enlisted to draft a constitution for the Australian Council of Churches. He had an abiding interest in theology, generally attending with his family whatever church was most convenient. In latter years he was in the Presbyterian fold, becoming an elder of St Andrew’s Church, Forrest, Canberra.
Complete article : http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A160643b.htm
Image : St Andrew’s Church, Canberra as at 1965. Harry Whitlam died in 1961
Image source : http://www.standrewscanberra.com
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