Thomas Skene

Last updated

Thomas Skene
Thomas Skene.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Grampians
In office
29 March 1901 8 November 1906
Preceded byNew seat
Succeeded by Hans Irvine
Personal details
Born(1845-12-15)15 December 1845
Ballarat, Victoria
Died 15 March 1910(1910-03-15) (aged 64)
Sandringham, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Political party Free Trade Party
Spouse(s) Margaret Scott Anderson
Occupation Businessman

Thomas Skene (15 December 1845 – 15 March 1910) was an Australian politician.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.


Early life

Skene was born near Ballarat, Victoria on 15 December 1845 to Scottish-born pastoralist William Skene and Jane, née Robertson. William was a member of the Victorian Legislative Council 1870–76. Thomas attended Cavendish and Scotch College in Melbourne, and subsequently entered the University of Aberdeen, after which he embarked on a long tour of Europe and the United States.

Victorian Legislative Council upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Victoria, Australia

The Victorian Legislative Council (VLC) is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Victoria, Australia; the lower house being the Legislative Assembly. Both houses sit at Parliament House in Spring Street, Melbourne. The Legislative Council serves as a house of review, in a similar fashion to its federal counterpart, the Australian Senate. Although it is possible for legislation to be first introduced in the Council, most bills receive their first hearing in the Legislative Assembly.

Melbourne City in Victoria, Australia

Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 9,992.5 km2 (3,858.1 sq mi), comprising a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities, and is also the common name for its city centre. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. It has a population of approximately 4.9 million, and its inhabitants are referred to as "Melburnians".

University of Aberdeen university in Aberdeen, Scotland

The University of Aberdeen is a public research university in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is an ancient university founded in 1495 when William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen and Chancellor of Scotland, petitioned Pope Alexander VI on behalf of James IV, King of Scots to establish King's College, making it Scotland's third-oldest university and the fifth-oldest in the English-speaking world. Today, Aberdeen is consistently ranked among the top 200 universities in the world and is ranked within the top 30 universities in the United Kingdom. Aberdeen was also named the 2019 Scottish University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

Skene married Margaret Scott Anderson on 2 September 1871, and ran Bassett, his father's property near Branxholme, from 1868, where he bred merino sheep. He sold the property in 1882 to finance a venture in New Mexico; he was unable to come to terms with the Mexican Government, however, necessitating his return to Victoria.

Branxholme, Victoria Town in Victoria, Australia

Branxholme is a township in the Shire of Southern Grampians in the Western District of Victoria, Australia on the Henty Highway between Heywood and Hamilton. At the 2006 census, Branxholme and the surrounding area had a population of 236.

New Mexico State of the United States of America

New Mexico is a state in the Southwestern region of the United States of America; its capital and cultural center is Santa Fe, which was founded in 1610 as capital of Nuevo México, while its largest city is Albuquerque with its accompanying metropolitan area. It is one of the Mountain States and shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and Arizona; its other neighboring states are Oklahoma to the northeast, Texas to the east-southeast, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua to the south and Sonora to the southwest. With a population around two million, New Mexico is the 36th state by population. With a total area of 121,590 sq mi (314,900 km2), it is the fifth-largest and sixth-least densely populated of the 50 states. Due to their geographic locations, northern and eastern New Mexico exhibit a colder, alpine climate, while western and southern New Mexico exhibit a warmer, arid climate.

Maintaining a Melbourne home from 1892, Skene served on both the Portland and Stawell shire councils, was a founder of the Chamber of Agriculture, and was president of the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria 1897–99 and 1906–08, having been a councillor since 1892. He also held the positions of chairman and president of the Colonial Bank of Australasia and director of the Trustees Executors & Agency Co. Ltd.

Shire of Heywood Local government area in Victoria, Australia

The Shire of Heywood was a local government area about 360 kilometres (224 mi) west-southwest of Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, Australia. The shire covered an area of 3,764 square kilometres (1,453.3 sq mi), and existed from 1856 until 1994.

Shire of Stawell Local government area in Victoria, Australia

The Shire of Stawell was a local government area about 230 kilometres (143 mi) west-northwest of Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, Australia. The shire covered an area of 2,606 square kilometres (1,006.2 sq mi), and existed from 1861 until 1994.

The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) was founded in 1840, when a group of Melbourne's leading citizens formed the Agricultural Society of Victoria with the aim of "furthering the quality of Australia's primary production by means of contests and competitions".


Skene unsuccessfully ran for the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1892 for the seat of Dundas. After strongly supporting Federation, he was elected to the first Parliament as a Free Trade Party member of the Australian House of Representatives, representing the seat of Grampians. He was a moderate free trader, however, and functioned as a link between that party and the Protectionists. He attempted to transfer to the Senate in 1906 but was defeated.

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.

Parliament of Australia legislative branch of the Commonwealth of Australia

The Parliament of Australia is the legislative branch of the government of Australia. It consists of three elements: the Crown, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The combination of two elected chambers, in which the members of the Senate represent the states and territories while the members of the House represent electoral divisions according to population, is modelled on the United States Congress. Through both chambers, however, there is a fused executive, drawn from the Westminster system.

The Free Trade Party which was officially known as the Australian Free Trade and Liberal Association, also referred to as the Revenue Tariff Party in some states, was an Australian political party, formally organised in 1887 in New South Wales, in time for the 1887 colony election, which the party won. It advocated the abolition of protectionism, especially protective tariffs and other restrictions on trade, arguing that this would create greater prosperity for all. However, many members also advocated use of minimal tariffs for government revenue purposes only. Its most prominent leader was George Reid, who led the Reid Government as the fourth Prime Minister of Australia (1904-5). In New South Wales it was succeeded by the Liberal and Reform Association in 1902, and federally by the Anti-Socialist Party in 1906. In 1909, the Anti-Socialist Party merged with the Protectionist Party to form the Commonwealth Liberal Party.

Skene died at Sandringham on 15 March 1910, and was survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters (his eldest son was killed in the South African War). At the time of his death, he had been selected to run for the Senate again, this time for the Commonwealth Liberal Party.

Sandringham, Victoria Suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Sandringham is an affluent, beachside suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, located 19 km (12 mi) southeast of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the City of Bayside and its federal division is the Division of Goldstein. At the 2011 Census, Sandringham had a population of 9,309.

The Commonwealth Liberal Party was a political movement active in Australia from 1909 to 1917, shortly after Federation. The CLP came about as a result of a merger between the two non-Labor parties, the Protectionist Party and the Anti-Socialist Party which most of their MPs accepted. The CLP is the earliest direct ancestor of the current Liberal Party of Australia.

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Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
new seat
Member for Grampians
Succeeded by
Hans Irvine