Henry Lefroy

Last updated

Sir Henry Lefroy

Henry Lefroy.jpg
11th Premier of Western Australia
In office
28 June 1917 17 April 1919
GovernorSir William Ellison-Macartney
Preceded by Frank Wilson
Succeeded by Hal Colebatch
Member of the Legislative Assembly
of Western Australia
In office
2 August 1892 24 April 1901
Preceded by George Randell
Succeeded by Michael O'Connor
Constituency Moore
In office
3 October 1911 12 March 1921
Preceded byNone (seat recreated)
Succeeded by James Denton
Personal details
Born(1854-03-24)24 March 1854
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Died19 March 1930(1930-03-19) (aged 75)
Walebing, Western Australia, Australia
Political party Nationalist

Sir Henry Bruce Lefroy KCMG (24 March 1854 – 19 March 1930) was the eleventh Premier of Western Australia.



Lefroy was born in Perth, Western Australia on 24 March 1854. His father was Anthony O'Grady Lefroy, Colonial Treasurer of Western Australia for over 30 years. Educated initially at Mrs McKnight's School in Perth; later he travelled to England, where he continued his studies at the Preparatory School at Exmouth, then at Elstree and finally at Rugby from 1868 to 1872. In 1893 Lefroy returned to Western Australia to take over management of his father's farm at Walebing, which he inherited upon his father's death in 1897. Lefroy was a member of the Victoria Plains Road Board from 1872 until 1899, and its chairman from 1876 to 1897. In 1874 he was appointed a Justice of the Peace, and he was for a time a member of the local Board of Education. He married Rose Agnes Wittenoom in Perth on 15 April 1880, and they had three sons and a daughter.

On 2 August 1892, Lefroy was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly seat of Moore in a by-election. On 12 May 1897, he was appointed Minister for Education in John Forrest's government. He held this portfolio until 28 April 1898, when he instead became Minister for Mines. He did not contest the election of 24 April 1901, and so ceased to be a minister when parliament reconvened on 27 May.

From July 1901 until 1904, Lefroy was Agent-General for Western Australia in London. During his time in London, his first wife died on 17 April 1902. In 1903, he was appointed CMG, and on 23 November 1904, he married Madeleine Emily Stewart Walford in London. He would have two sons and a daughter by his second wife.

After returning to Western Australia, Lefroy unsuccessfully contested the Metropolitan-Suburban Province in the Western Australian Legislative Council. He was again a member of the Victoria Plains Road Board from 1906 to 1909, and was then chairman of the Moora Roads Board from 1909 until 1917.

On 3 October 1911, Lefroy was again elected to the Legislative Assembly seat of Moore, after a hiatus of over ten years. In 1915, he replaced James Mitchell as deputy of the Liberal Party. He was appointed Minister for Lands and Agriculture in Frank Wilson's second government on 27 July 1916. Wilson's government had difficulty maintaining parliamentary support, and was put under pressure to try to repeat the success at federal level of Prime Minister Billy Hughes in forming a Nationalist Party. A Nationalist Party was formed in May 1917, but the party voted to reconstruct the ministry by caucus election. Recognising that the intention was to oust the present ministry, Wilson and three of his ministers walked out of the meeting. Lefroy remained, and was elected leader of the party. Wilson then had no choice but to resign as premier, and Lefroy became Premier of Western Australia on 28 June 1917.

Lefroy's entire ministry was elected by the whole parliamentary party, and it remains the only non-Labor government of Western Australia to be chosen in this way. It was an ill-assorted group, and consequently Lefroy's premiership was marked by infighting, factionalism and a lack of discipline. On one occasion a Royal Commission was announced without Lefroy's knowledge; and on another occasion the acting treasurer Robert Robinson accepted amendments to treasurer James Gardiner's budget against the wishes of other cabinet ministers. Lefroy was challenged for the leadership on 9 April 1919, and needed his own casting vote to survive because a number of his ministers declined to vote. When MacCallum Smith leaked this embarrassing information to the press, Lefroy resigned as premier and leader of the Nationalist Party on 17 April, and Hal Colebatch was elected in his place. Lefroy continued as member for Moore but was defeated at the general elections of 12 March 1921. He spent his remaining years at Walebing, dying there on 19 March 1930.

Related Research Articles

Hal Colebatch

Sir Harry Pateshall Colebatch CMG was a long-serving and occasionally controversial figure in Western Australian politics. He was a member of the Western Australian Legislative Council for nearly 20 years, the twelfth Premier of Western Australia for a month in 1919, agent-general in London for five years, and a federal senator for four years.

George Throssell

George Lionel Throssell was the second Premier of Western Australia. He served for just three months, from 15 February to 27 May 1901, during a period of great instability in Western Australian politics.

George Leake

George Leake was the third Premier of Western Australia, serving from May to November 1901 and then again from December 1901 to his death.

Alf Morgans

Alfred Edward Morgans was the fourth Premier of Western Australia, serving for just over a month, from 21 November to 23 December 1901.

Hector Rason

Sir Cornthwaite Hector William James Rason, better known as Hector Rason, was the seventh Premier of Western Australia.

Newton Moore

Major General Sir Newton James Moore, was an Australian politician, businessman and army officer. He served as the eighth Premier of Western Australia from 1906 to 1910 and, following service in the First World War, was a member of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom from 1918 to 1932. He was the father of Sir Rodney Moore.

Frank Wilson (politician)

Frank Wilson, was the ninth Premier of Western Australia, serving on two separate occasions – from 1910 to 1911 and then again from 1916 to 1917.

John Scaddan

John Scaddan, CMG, popularly known as "Happy Jack", was Premier of Western Australia from 7 October 1911 until 27 July 1916.

Anthony OGrady Lefroy

Anthony O'Grady Lefroy, often known as O'Grady Lefroy, was an important government official in Western Australia before the advent of responsible government.

The Electoral district of Brown Hill-Ivanhoe was a Legislative Assembly electorate in the state of Western Australia. It covered part of the Goldfields city of Boulder, near Kalgoorlie, and neighbouring mining areas. It was created at the 1911 redistribution out of the former seats of Brown Hill and Ivanhoe, and was first contested at the 1911 election. It was abolished in the 1948 redistribution, with its area split between the neighbouring electorates of Boulder and Hannans, taking effect from the 1950 election. The seat was a very safe one for the Labor Party.

Philip Collier

Philip Collier was an Australian politician who served as the 14th Premier of Western Australia from 1924 to 1930 and from 1933 to 1936. He was leader of the Labor Party from 1917 to 1936, and is Western Australia's longest-serving premier from that party.

George Randell

George Randell was an Australian businessman and politician. He served intermittently in the Parliament of Western Australia between 1875 and 1910, including as a minister in the government of Sir John Forrest.

This is a list of members of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly between the 1914 election and the 1917 election, together known as the Ninth Parliament. The re-election of Premier John Scaddan's Labor Government with a 26-24 majority in 1914 was tempered when, a year later, Labor member Joseph Gardiner's seat was declared vacant on account of his non-attendance and a Liberal was elected in his stead, and Labor became a minority government when on 18 December 1915, Edward Johnston resigned from the Labor Party and became an independent. On 27 July 1916, the Scaddan Ministry was defeated and the Liberals' Frank Wilson became the new Premier.

This is a list of members of the Western Australian Legislative Council from 22 May 1916 to 21 May 1918. The chamber had 30 seats made up of ten provinces each electing three members, on a system of rotation whereby one-third of the members would retire at each biennial election.

The Lefroy Ministry was the 13th Ministry of the Government of Western Australia and was led by Nationalist Premier Sir Henry Lefroy. It succeeded the Second Wilson Ministry on 28 June 1917 due to most members of the former Liberal Party, of which the previous Premier, Frank Wilson, had been the leader, pledging allegiance to the new party. The Lefroy Ministry, which was the first Coalition ministry in Western Australia, was also the only Ministry of a non-Labor government to be chosen by caucus.

Rufus Henry Underwood, better known as Henry Underwood, was an Australian politician who represented the Western Australian Legislative Assembly seat of Pilbara from 1906 until 1924. Initially active in the Labor Party and a minister without portfolio in the Scaddan Ministry, he left the party during the conscription crisis in 1917 and thereafter represented the National Labor Party for the rest of his political career.

Robert Thomson Robinson

Robert Thomson Robinson was an Australian lawyer and politician who was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1914 to 1921, representing the seat of Canning. He served as a minister in the governments of Frank Wilson, Henry Lefroy, Hal Colebatch, and James Mitchell.

William James George CMG was an Australian engineer and politician who served in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1895 to 1902 and from 1909 to 1930. He was a minister in the governments of Frank Wilson, Henry Lefroy, Hal Colebatch, and James Mitchell.

Charles Farquharson Baxter was an Australian politician who was a Country Party member of the Legislative Council of Western Australia from 1914 until his death. He was a minister in the governments of Henry Lefroy, Hal Colebatch, and James Mitchell.

William Lemen Thomas

William Lemen Thomas was an Australian politician who was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1911 to 1917, representing the seat of Bunbury. He was a minister in the government of Henry Lefroy.


Preceded by
Frank Wilson
Premier of Western Australia
1917 – 1919
Succeeded by
Hal Colebatch