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George Gray (Australian politician)

George Henry Gray (2 October 1903? – 2 August 1967) was an Australian politician.

George Gray
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Capricornia
In office
9 December 1961 – 2 August 1967
Preceded byGeorge Pearce
Succeeded byDoug Everingham
Personal details
Born(1903-10-02)2 October 1903
Hay, New South Wales
Died2 August 1967(1967-08-02) (aged 63)
Rockhampton, Queensland
NationalityAustralian
Political partyDouglas Credit (1930s)
Labor (from ?)
Spouse(s)Elsa Noelen Braham Stratton
OccupationFarmer

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Gray claimed to have been born at Hay, New South Wales on 2 October 1903 to bank manager George Henry Gray and his wife Priscilla Maud Kerr. He grew up near Orange and was educated at Burwood Public School in Sydney, then becoming a grocer's assistant at Thornleigh. He later became a customs officer at Shanghai in China in the middle 1920s.

Gray returned to Australia around 1926 and moved to Queensland, becoming a farmer and organiser for the Douglas Credit Party. He contested the 1935 state election for the party, and polled 46.5 percent in the seat of Albert, losing to Tom Plunkett of the CPNP. On 4 August 1939 he was the leader of a raid comprising thirty-seven members of the League for Social Justice on Parliament House in the Queensland capital of Brisbane. The raiders demanded lower unemployment and better conditions for primary producers from the government. Gray and the others were arrested for unlawful assembly but were acquitted at the subsequent trial. Later, he claimed to have been spying on the league for intelligence authorities. On 20 April 1944 he married Elsa Noelen Braham Stratton, aged 19, at Woollahra in Sydney.

Military serviceEdit

Gray was mobilised on 29 May 1940 and served in Queensland and Papua New Guinea. In May 1942 he was commissioned in the Australian Imperial Force, and on 12 December 1944 he transferred to the Reserve of Officers as a captain. Returning to Brisbane, he became an accountant for Queensland Cement & Lime Co. and owned a business (run by his wife Elsa) at Bowen Hills.

Return from the militaryEdit

In 1946, the Grays moved to Toowoomba, where Gray managed Co-operative Sales and Service Co. and joined the Australian Labor Party. Having formed the Roseneath Pastoral Company in 1950 with two associates, he began dairy farming near Laidley. Unfortunate weather and a fire in May 1951 that burnt Gray's house down compromised the venture. In 1955 he became secretary of the Rockhampton Agricultural Society.

Federal politicsEdit

In 1961, Gray was elected to the Australian House of Representatives as the Labor member for Capricornia, defeating Liberal incumbent George Pearce on a swing of over 10 percent. He actually came within a few hundred votes of taking the seat on the first count. His victory was part of a 15-seat swing to Labor that nearly toppled the government of Robert Menzies.

In parliament he was chiefly concerned with northern development and defence. He designed a combined tank and tank-carrier for the army, which received serious consideration.

Gray was an elder of the John Knox Presbyterian Church in Rockhampton, and was a teetotaller. On 2 August 1967 he died of pulmonary oedema at Rockhampton and was buried in the North Rockhampton cemetery; he was survived by his wife, three sons, and three daughters. His wife Elsa ("Bray") was an alderman with Rockhampton City Council (1973–91) and was State secretary of the Australian Local Government Women's Association for eight years.

ReferencesEdit

  • Brown, Elaine (1996). "Gray, George Henry (1903 - 1967)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 13 July 2008.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
George Pearce
Member for Capricornia
1961 – 1967
Succeeded by
Doug Everingham