1947 New South Wales state election

The 1947 New South Wales state election was held on 3 May 1947. It was conducted in single member constituencies with compulsory preferential voting and was held on boundaries created at a 1940 redistribution. The election was for all of the 90 seats in the Legislative Assembly.

1947 New South Wales state election

← 1944 3 May 1947 (1947-05-03) 1950 →

All 90 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
46 Assembly seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  JamesMcGirr1947.jpg Vernon Treatt.jpg
Leader James McGirr Vernon Treatt
Party Labor Liberal/Country coalition
Leader since 6 February 1947 20 March 1946
Leader's seat Bankstown Woollahra
Last election 56 seats 26 seats
Seats won 52 seats 33 seats
Seat change Decrease4 Increase7
Percentage 45.95% 39.82%
Swing Increase0.75 Increase4.22

New South Wales Legislative Assembly 1947.svg
Legislative Assembly after the election

Premier before election

James McGirr

Elected Premier

James McGirr


At the beginning of 1947, Labor had been in power for 6 years under the premiership of William McKell. The urban conservative parties, which had been in a state of disarray at the previous election in 1944 had been unified as the Liberal Party of Australia under the federal leadership of Robert Menzies. However, in New South Wales the state Liberals had lost their two most experienced and capable leaders, Reginald Weaver who had died in November 1945 and Alexander Mair who had resigned from parliament to unsuccessfully contest a NSW senate seat at the 1946 federal election. They had been led by Vernon Treatt since March 1946. In February 1947, 3 months before the election was due, McKell stunned most people in the Labor Party and general community by announcing that he would resign to take up the position of Governor-General. McKell's preference as a successor was his ally in the struggle against Jack Lang, Bob Heffron. However, revealing the residual influence of Lang, the caucus chose his preferred candidate, the Housing Minister, James McGirr. Both parties went to the election with untried leaders. However, residual respect for McKell, continuing economic growth, the popularity of the federal Labor government and the memory of the factional fights among the state's conservative politicians gave Labor a significant advantage in the campaign.[1]


While Labor lost some of the traditionally conservative seats it had picked up at the 1944 election to the Liberal Party, the result of the election was a landslide victory for Labor. Many of the gains of the Liberal and Country parties were conservative members who had been elected as independents at the previous election. They had rejoined the parties when some degree of order had been restored:


McGirr, Treatt and Country Party Leader Michael Bruxner retained their leadership roles throughout the parliament.

There were 11 by-elections during the parliament with a net loss of 3 seats for Labor.

Seats changing party representationEdit

Seat Incumbent member Party New member Party
Albury John Hurley   Labor Doug Padman   Liberal
Corowa[a]   Independent Ebenezer Kendell   Country
Drummoyne Robert Greig   Labor Robert Dewley   Liberal
Hornsby Sydney Storey   Independent Democrat Sydney Storey   Liberal
Lachlan John Chanter   Labor Robert Medcalf   Country Party
Lane Cove Henry Woodward   Labor Ken McCaw   Liberal
Mosman Donald Macdonald   Independent Pat Morton   Liberal
Nepean Joseph Jackson   Independent Democrat Joseph Jackson   Liberal
Orange Bob O'Halloran   Labor Charles Cutler   Country
Oxley Les Jordan   Independent Les Jordan   Country
Ryde[b]   Independent Democrat Eric Hearnshaw   Liberal
Tamworth Bill Chaffey   Independent Bill Chaffey   Country

Key datesEdit

Date Event
29 March 1947 The Legislative Assembly was dissolved, and writs were issued by the Governor to proceed with an election.
3 April 1947 Nominations for candidates for the election closed at noon.
3 May 1947 Polling day.
127 May 1947 Last day for the writs to be returned and the results formally declared.
28 May 1947 Opening of 35th Parliament.

Tabulated resultsEdit

New South Wales state election, 3 May 1947
Legislative Assembly
<< 19441950 >>

Enrolled voters 1,852,787[c]
Votes cast 1,621,257 Turnout 94.61 +3.19
Informal votes 32,262 Informal 1.99 −1.14
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats Change
  Labor 730,194 45.95 + 0.75 52 −4
  Liberal 470,485 29.60 +4.41 18 +2
  Country 162,467 10.22 −0.19 15 +5
  Independent 94,163 5.92 +0.20 2 −3
  Lang Labor 64,851 4.08 −5.25 2
  Communist 27,237 1.71 −0.03 0
  Combined Liberal/Country endorsement 14,801 0.93 +0.93 1 +1
  Independent Labor 13,917 0.88 −0.91 0
  Independent Liberal 11,150 0.49 +0.49 0
  Protestant Labor 3,361 0.21 +0.21 0
Total 1,589,265     90  


  1. ^ Kendell had won the seat at the 1946 Corowa by-election caused by the resignation of Independent Christopher Lethbridge.
  2. ^ Hearnshaw had won the seat at the 1945 Ryde by-election caused by the death of Independent James Shand.
  3. ^ There were 1,713,921 enrolled voters in 82 contested electorates and 138,866 were enrolled in 8 uncontested electorates (5 Labor and 3 Country). [2]


  1. ^ McMullin, Ross (1991). The Light on the Hill: The Australian Labor Party 1891-1991. Oxford University Press. pp. 244–5. ISBN 0-19-554966-X.
  2. ^ Green, Antony. "1947 election totals". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 31 July 2019.

See alsoEdit