Harry Lawson (1875 – 1952) premier of Victoria
Harry Lawson was always praised as honest, courteous, good tempered and conscientious. As a young man Lawson was extensively involved in local affairs. Tall and amiable, he was a teetotaller, prominent in the Presbyterian Church as a founder of the Young Men’s Fellowship, and a champion cricketer and footballer.
Sir Harry Sutherland Wightman Lawson KCMG was born in Dunolly, the son of a Presbyterian clergyman of Scottish descent. He was educated at a local school and then briefly Scotch College in Melbourne. He was a noted Australian rules footballer, playing for Castlemaine. He studied law with a Melbourne law firm and was called to the bar. He then went into practice in Castlemaine, and was elected to the town council, serving as mayor in 1905. In 1901 he married Olive Horwood, with whom he had eight children.
As a young man Lawson was extensively involved in local affairs. Tall and amiable, he was a teetotaller, prominent in the Presbyterian Church as a founder of the Young Men’s Fellowship, and a champion cricketer and footballer. His popularity led to his election to the Castlemaine Borough Council in 1899 and a few weeks later pushed him into politics.
Among the achievements of Lawson’s premiership were his fostering of the State Electricity Commission and the development of the Yallourn brown-coal deposit; his encouragement of land settlement schemes; and the formation of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board, the Forests Commission and the Charities Board. William Calder, chairman of the Country Roads Board, and William Cattanach, chairman of the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission, became firm friends. Lawson’s government also perpetuated the six o’clock closing of hotels and combated the police strike of 1923. Whereas during the 1903 railway strike Lawson had been one of the minority of parliamentarians to advocate negotiation rather than suppression by legislation (‘Mercy first and last should brightest shine’, he urged, quoting Milton), as premier in 1923 he was adamant that there could be no forgiveness ‘for desertion of the post of duty’ and introduced Draconian legislation. He was also able to call on his erstwhile headmaster, hustings and legal opponent, but by now his firm friend McCay to work with Sir John Monash in arranging the Special Constabulary Force.
Lawson was always praised as honest, courteous, good tempered and conscientious.
Harry Lawson – Parliament of Victoria http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/re-member/bioregfull.cfm?mid=507
William Calder (1860 – 1928) engineer https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/william-calder/
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