Electoral district of West Perth

The Electoral district of West Perth was a Legislative Assembly electorate in the state of Western Australia. The district was named for its location immediately to the west of the central business district of Perth.

West Perth
Western AustraliaLegislative Assembly
StateWestern Australia
Dates current1890–1962
NamesakeWest Perth
DemographicNorth Metropolitan

West Perth was created as one of the initial 30 single-member districts, and one of only six in the Perth-Fremantle area,[1] and its first member, elected in 1890, was Timothy Quinlan, a Perth city councillor and publican at the Shamrock Hotel. Quinlan became embroiled in a controversy regarding provision of state aid to private schools, which he and fellow Catholic MLAs Thomas Molloy and Alfred Canning supported. The Catholic Vicar General, Father Anselm Bourke, established the Education Defence League with their assistance. However, the issue became a major one in the 1894 election amongst the voting public, and all three MLAs lost their seats, Quinlan losing to former Fremantle mayor Barrington Wood.[2]

George Leake defeated Wood in the 1901 election. Wood, a former opposition leader, was able to form government, and became the third Premier of Western Australia.

The seat was held by several other notable members, including the first female member of any Australian Parliament, Edith Cowan, from 1921. It was later held by Thomas Davy, Attorney General in the second Mitchell government, who was widely considered to be leadership material until his early death in 1933 (while playing cards at the Savoy Hotel). Between 1938 and 1946, it was held by Robert Ross McDonald, the leader of the Nationalist Party, one of the key architects of the Western Australian division of the Liberal Party, (established in 1945).

The seat was generally safe for non-Labor candidates and parties throughout its existence, although a redistribution following the abolition of the seat of Perth prior to the 1950 election, which extended the seat east to Barrack Street, enabled Labor to hold the seat for its final three terms. Its final member, Stanley Heal, successfully transferred to the recreated seat of Perth following West Perth's abolition in a redistribution in 1961 ahead of the 1962 election.

Members for West PerthEdit

Member Party Term
  Timothy Quinlan Non-aligned 1890–1894
  Barrington Wood Ministerialist 1894–1901
  George Leake Oppositionist 1901–1902
  Charles Moran Independent 1902–1905
  Frederick Illingworth Ministerialist 1905–1907
  Thomas Draper Ministerialist 1907–1911
  Eben Allen Liberal 1911–1917
  Thomas Draper Nationalist 1917–1921
  Edith Cowan Nationalist 1921–1924
  Thomas Davy Nationalist 1924–1933
  Robert Ross McDonald Nationalist 1933–1945
  Liberal 1945–1949
  Liberal Country League 1949–1950
  Joseph Totterdell Liberal Country League 1950–1953
  Stanley Heal Labor 1953–1962


  1. ^ de Garis, Brian (1981). "Self-government and the evolution of party politics". In Stannage, C.T. (ed.). A New History of Western Australia. Nedlands: University of Western Australia Press. p. 336. ISBN 0-85564-170-3.
  2. ^ de Garis (1981), p.342-343.