Ernest Roberts (Australian politician)

Ernest Alfred Roberts (21 February 1868 – 2 December 1913) was a Labor member of the Australian House of Representatives from 1908 to 1913.

Ernest Roberts
E. A. Roberts (cropped).jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Adelaide
In office
13 June 1908 – 2 December 1913
Preceded byCharles Kingston
Succeeded byGeorge Edwin Yates
Personal details
Born(1868-02-21)21 February 1868
London, England
Died2 December 1913(1913-12-02) (aged 45)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
NationalityEnglish Australian
Political partyLabor Party
Spouse(s)Bridget Marie Collins

Roberts was born in London and educated in Guernsey. He became a sailor and then travelled to Queensland in 1886. He became a wharf labourer and union secretary in Port Pirie, South Australia and in 1892 he married Bridget Marie Collins.[1]

In 1893, Roberts unsuccessfully stood for election to the South Australian House of Assembly for seat of Gladstone, but won it for Labor at the 1896 election. Although he initially opposed the sending of South Australian troops to the Second Boer War in 1899, in early 1900 he served as a lieutenant with the 4th Imperial Bushmen's Contingent there. He returned in July 1901, resigned his seat and helped organise the 2nd Battalion, Australian Commonwealth Horse. He returned to western Transvaal in mid-1902 as a captain. After his return to Australia, he edited the Labor Weekly Herald from 1904 to 1908 and founded the South Australian Government General Workers Association.[1][2]

Roberts won the 1908 Adelaide by-election. He was an honorary minister in the second Fisher Ministry, representing the Minister for Defence in the House of Representatives from October 1911 to 1913 and was acting Minister for Defence in 1911 while George Pearce was visiting England. Just after speaking in Parliament in Melbourne he collapsed and died of a heart condition, survived by his wife, son and three daughters.[1][3] He reportedly struck his head on the base of a stone statue of Queen Victoria.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Thornton, Robert (1988). "Roberts, Ernest Alfred (1868-1913)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 28 November 2013 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  2. ^ "AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT WORKERS' ASSOCIATION". Daily Herald. 6 (1786). South Australia. 11 December 1915. p. 3. Retrieved 30 November 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "Members of the House of Representatives since 1901". Parliamentary Handbook. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 17 November 2007. Retrieved 26 February 2008.
  4. ^ Souter, Gavin (1988). Acts of Parliament: A Narrative History of the Senate and House of Representatives. Melbourne University Press. p. 132.
South Australian House of Assembly
Preceded by
James Howe
Member for Gladstone
Served alongside: Alfred Catt
Seat abolished
Preceded by
Hugh Dixson
Member for Adelaide
Served alongside: James Zimri Sellar and Reginald Blundell
Succeeded by
Edward Alfred Anstey
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Charles Kingston
Member for Adelaide
Succeeded by
George Edwin Yates