John Dedman

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John Dedman
John Dedman.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Corio
In office
2 March 1940 10 December 1949
Preceded by Richard Casey
Succeeded by Hubert Opperman
Personal details
Born(1896-06-02)2 June 1896
Wigtownshire, Scotland
Died22 November 1973(1973-11-22) (aged 77)
Canberra, Australia
Nationality Scottish Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s)Jessie Lawson

John Johnstone Dedman (2 June 1896 – 22 November 1973) was a Minister in the Australian Labor Party governments led by John Curtin and Ben Chifley. He was responsible for organising production during World War II, establishing the Australian National University, reorganising the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and developing the Snowy Mountains Scheme. Dedman represented the Federal seat of Corio, centred on Geelong between 1940 and 1949.

Australian Labor Party Political party in Australia

The Australian Labor Party is a major centre-left political party in Australia. The party has been in opposition at the federal level since the 2013 election. The party is a federal party with branches in each state and territory. Labor is in government in the states of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and in both the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The party competes against the Liberal/National Coalition for political office at the federal and state levels. It is the oldest political party in Australia.

John Curtin Australian politician, 14th Prime Minister of Australia

John Joseph Ambrose Curtin was an Australian politician who served as the 14th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1941 until his death in 1945. He led the country for the majority of World War II, including all but the last few weeks of the war in the Pacific. He was the leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) from 1935 to 1945, and its longest serving leader until Gough Whitlam. Curtin's leadership skills and personal character were acclaimed by his political contemporaries. He is frequently cited as one of Australia's greatest prime ministers, and is the only prime minister to represent a constituency in Western Australia.

Ben Chifley Australian politician, 16th Prime Minister of Australia

Joseph Benedict Chifley was an Australian politician who served as the 16th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1945 to 1949. He was leader of the Labor Party from 1945 until his death.


Early life

Dedman was born in Knowe, northwest of Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, Scotland. He was educated by his father at village schools and Ewart Boys' High School, Newton Stewart. He enrolled in science at the University of Edinburgh in 1914, but was commissioned in 1915 as an officer in the British Army in World War I and fought at Gallipoli, Egypt and France. He then joined the British Indian Army and fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 1922 he resigned and travelled to Australia, where he bought a dairy farm near Launching Place with a friend from school, Walter McEwen. In 1925, he married McEwen's sister, Jessie Lawson. [1]

Newton Stewart town in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Newton Stewart is a former burgh town in the historical county of Wigtownshire in Dumfries and Galloway, southwest Scotland. The town is on the River Cree with most of the town to the west of the river, and is sometimes referred to as the "Gateway to the Galloway Hills".

Wigtownshire Historic county in Scotland

Wigtownshire or the County of Wigtown is a historic county, registration county and lieutenancy area in south-west Scotland. Until 1975, Wigtownshire was one of the administrative counties used for local government purposes, and is now administered as part of the council area of Dumfries and Galloway. As a lieutenancy area, Wigtownshire has its own Lord Lieutenant, currently John Alexander Ross. In the 19th century, it was also called West Galloway. The county town was historically Wigtown, with the administrative centre moving to Stranraer, the largest town, on the creation of a county council in 1890.

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast, the Irish Sea to the south, and the North Channel to the southwest. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Political career

In 1927 Dedman stood unsuccessfully as the Country Party candidate for Upper Yarra in the Victorian Legislative Assembly. However, the Country Party helped defeat a bill to establish a milk board [2] in the Legislative Council and, as a result, he joined the Labor Party. Between 1932 and 1934, he unsuccessfully contested one federal and two state seats. He was a councillor on Upper Yarra Shire Council from 1926 to 1939 and its president in 1931 and 1937. In 1938, he studied Keynesian economics at the University of Melbourne. [1]

The National Party of Australia is an Australian political party. Traditionally representing graziers, farmers, and rural voters generally, it began as the Australian Country Party in 1920 at a federal level. It would later briefly adopt the name National Country Party in 1975, before adopting its current name in 1982.

The Electoral district of Upper Yarra was a Lower House electoral district of the Parliament of the Australian state of Victoria.

Victorian Legislative Assembly lower house of the Parliament of Victoria, Australia

The Victorian Legislative Assembly is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of Victoria in Australia; the upper house being the Victorian Legislative Council. Both houses sit at Parliament House in Spring Street, Melbourne.

Dedman won Corio at a by-election in March 1940. In October 1941, he was appointed Minister for War Organisation of Industry and Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in the Curtin government and he became a member of the War Cabinet in December 1941. His chief responsibility was to organise production to support the war effort and he became known as the minister for "austerity". At the end of World War II, he became Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and Minister for Postwar Reconstruction in the Chifley government, where he was responsible for promoting full-employment, retraining ex-service personnel and attempting to rebuild the national economy. In particular he had carriage for preparing the White Paper on Full Employment in Australia, establishing the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement, [3] the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the Joint Coal Board, the Universities Commission and the Australian National University. From November 1946, Dedman was also Minister for Defence. He narrowly lost Corio to Hubert Opperman in the 1949 election and failed to win it back in 1951 and 1954. [1]

Division of Corio Australian federal electoral division

The Division of Corio is an Australian electoral division in the state of Victoria. The division was proclaimed in 1900, and was one of the original 65 divisions to be contested at the first federal election. Named for Corio Bay, it has always been based on the city of Geelong, although in the past it stretched as far east as the outer western suburbs of Melbourne.

First Curtin Ministry

The First Curtin Ministry was the thirtieth Australian Commonwealth ministry, and held office from 7 October 1941 to 21 September 1943.

Military history of Australia during World War II

Australia entered World War II on 3 September 1939, following the government's acceptance of the United Kingdom's declaration of war on Nazi Germany. Following attacks on Allied countries, the Australian government later declared war on other members of the Axis powers, including the Kingdom of Italy and the Empire of Japan. By the end of the war, almost a million Australians had served in the armed forces, whose military units fought primarily in the European theatre, North African campaign, and the South West Pacific theatre. In addition, Australia came under direct attack for the first time in its post-colonial history. Its casualties from enemy action during the war were 27,073 killed and 23,477 wounded.

From 1955 Dedman worked with the World Council of Churches on the resettlement of refugees. He retired to Canberra in 1962 and was appointed to the council of the Australian National University and graduated with a B.A., both in 1966. He died in Canberra, survived by his wife, son and two daughters. [1]

World Council of Churches Worldwide inter-church organization founded in 1948

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a worldwide Christian inter-church organization founded in 1948. Its members today include the Assyrian Church of the East, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, most jurisdictions of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, the Old Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, most mainline Protestant churches and some evangelical Protestant churches. Notably, the Catholic Church is not a member, although it sends accredited observers to meetings. The WCC arose out of the ecumenical movement and has as its basis the following statement:

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior according to the scriptures, and therefore seek to fulfill together their common calling to the glory of the one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

It is a community of churches on the way to visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and in common life in Christ. It seeks to advance towards this unity, as Jesus prayed for his followers, "so that the world may believe."

Canberra capital city of Australia

Canberra is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the federation of the colonies of Australia as the seat of government for the new nation, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory; 280 km (170 mi) south-west of Sydney and 660 km (410 mi) north-east of Melbourne.

A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.


The Australian National University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws in 1964 and named a building after him in 1970. [1] He was to have the John Dedman Parkway in Canberra named after him, but the road plans were renamed prior to completion as the Gungahlin Drive Extension. [4]

Gungahlin Drive Extension parkway in the Australian Capital Territory

The Gungahlin Drive Extension is a freeway grade roadway, largely located in the Belconnen district of Canberra, Australia. It is 8.3 kilometres long and extended the previously existing Gungahlin Drive from the Barton Highway in the district of Gungahlin to the Glenloch Interchange to connect with the Tuggeranong Parkway, Parkes Way, and William Hovell Drive. Early in the planning stages, the GDE was to instead be designated the John Dedman Parkway.

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Dedman may refer to:

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Spaull, Andrew (1993). "Dedman, John Johnstone (1896 - 1973)". Australian Dictionary of Biography . Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 25 August 2007.
  2. Milk boards were established in most Australian states before World War II to acquire milk from producers at above market prices for sale to urban consumers. These were abolished in the 1970s.
  3. Under this agreement the states established housing commissions to construct large numbers of houses to overcome the post-war housing shortage.
  4. John Dedman Parkway, Gungahlin Drive Extension showing both names on the title
Political offices
Preceded by
Frank Forde
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
Eric Harrison
Preceded by
Eric Spooner
Minister for War Organisation of Industry
New title Minister for Postwar Reconstruction
Succeeded by
Eric Harrison
Minister in charge of the Council for
Scientific and Industrial Research

Preceded by
Richard Keane
Minister for Trade and Customs
Succeeded by
James Fraser
Preceded by
Norman Makin
Minister for Munitions
Succeeded by
John Armstrong
Minister for Aircraft Production
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Richard Casey
Member for Corio
Succeeded by
Hubert Opperman