Newton Moore

Major General Sir Newton James Moore, KCMG, VD (17 May 1870 – 28 October 1936) was an Australian politician, businessman and army officer. He served as the eighth Premier of Western Australia from 1906 to 1910 and, following service in the First World War, was a member of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom from 1918 to 1932. He was the father of Sir Rodney Moore.[1]

Sir Newton Moore

Newton Moore (1870-1936).jpeg
8th Premier of Western Australia
In office
7 May 1906 – 16 September 1910
Preceded bySir Cornthwaite Rason
Succeeded byFrank Wilson
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for St George's, Hanover Square
In office
4 October 1918 – 14 December 1918
Preceded bySir George Reid
Succeeded byWalter Hume Long
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Islington North
In office
14 December 1918 – 6 December 1923
Preceded bySir George Touche
Succeeded byWilliam Henry Cowan
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Richmond (Surrey)
In office
29 October 1924 – 13 April 1932
Preceded byHarry Thomas Alfred Becker
Succeeded bySir William Ray
Personal details
Born(1870-05-17)17 May 1870
Fremantle, Western Australia
Died28 October 1936(1936-10-28) (aged 66)
London, England
NationalityBritish subject
Political partyUnaligned (Western Australia)
Conservative (United Kingdom)
Spouse(s)Isabella Lowrie
RelationsSir Rodney Moore (son)
Civilian awardsKnight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Military service
AllegianceColony of Western Australia
Branch/serviceWestern Australian Volunteers
Citizens Military Force
Years of service1893–1918
RankMajor General
CommandsAIF Depots in the United Kingdom (1915–17)
Intelligence Corps, 5th Military District (1908–14)
18th Australian Light Horse (1901–08)
Mounted Half Company, Bunbury Rifle Volunteers (1900–01)
Battles/warsFirst World War
Military awardsColonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration

Early life and careerEdit

Captain Newton Moore, Bunbury Rifle Volunteers, 1900

Newton Moore was born in Fremantle, Western Australia, son of James Moore, auctioneer and later mayor of Bunbury, and Elizabeth Dawson, schoolteacher. He was educated at Arthur Street Primary School in Bunbury before attending Prince Alfred College in Adelaide, South Australia. In 1886, he was apprenticed as a surveyor to Alexander Forrest. After qualifying in 1894, he worked as a contract surveyor in and around the Bunbury area. In April 1898 he married Isabella Lowrie, sister of William Lowrie.

In 1899 Moore was elected to the Bunbury Municipal Council, and was Mayor of Bunbury from 1900 to 1904. In 1903 he was also a member of the Royal Commission on Forestry, and during 1904 and 1905 he was President of the Municipal Association of Western Australia.

Moore was also involved in the Western Australian militia, commencing a long career as a private with the BRV (Bunbury Rifle Volunteers) in 1894. By 1900 he had risen to captain and was instrumental in assisting in the formation of the BVR Mounted Infantry Section, which was later incorporated into the WAMI (Western Australian Mounted Infantry). After the Commonwealth reorganisation of 1903, the unit was renamed the 18th (WAMI) Australian Light Horse. Moore served as acting commander until 1908, when he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and officially appointed the commanding officer. In August 1908, Moore was appointed commanding officer of the 5th Military District Intelligence Section, where he remained until March 1914.

State politics and premierEdit

In 1901, Moore contested the Western Australian Legislative Assembly seat of Bunbury, but was unsuccessful. In 1904 he contested the seat again and won. In August 1905, he was appointed Minister for Lands and Agriculture in Cornthwaite Rason's government. On Rason's resignation on 7 May 1906, he became Premier of Western Australia. At 36 years old, he was at the time the youngest ever premier. He remains the most inexperienced politician ever to hold the office, having served in parliament for less than two years at the time of his appointment.

Moore's emphasis as Premier was on agricultural development. He personally retained the Lands and Agriculture portfolio, and pursued a policy of cheap land for settlers. His government laid the foundations of the Wheatbelt, and brought the state into line with the rest of Australia through an Income and Land tax, despite opposition from the conservative Legislative Council.

In September 1907, after a dispute with the Legislative Council, Moore resigned as premier. However, Governor Bedford would not accept his resignation, nor would he consent to an early dissolution, so Moore resumed office. In 1908, Moore led the Liberal Party to another election victory. As the state had previously seen nine Premiers in a little over five years, this was a welcome respite from a period of great instability. Moore was Minister for Justice from 14 May 1909 until 30 June 1909, when he relinquished both the Agriculture and Lands portfolio and the Justice portfolio, and took up the office of Colonial Treasurer. On 16 September 1910, Moore resigned as Premier and Colonial Treasurer on the grounds of ill health.

Agent-General and First World WarEdit

Moore was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in June 1908, and knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in June 1910. In February 1911, he resigned his Bunbury seat to take up the office of Agent-General for Western Australia in London. In 1915, while still Agent-General, the Australian government appointed him General Officer Commanding Australian Imperial Forces in the United Kingdom. He held that position until 1917, during which time he was promoted to the rank of major general.

British politicsEdit

In 1918, Moore resigned as Agent-General after being invited by the Conservative Party to stand for the British House of Commons seat of St George's, Hanover Square, which had been made vacant by the death of former Prime Minister of Australia George Reid. He was elected to the seat on 4 October 1918. In the 1918 general election on 14 December he instead stood for and won the seat of Islington North. After a break from politics in 1923 and 1924, he won the seat of Richmond upon Thames in the general election of 29 October 1924, and held it until his resignation on 13 April 1932. For ten years, he was Chairman of the Standing Orders Committee of the House of Commons. He established himself as an excellent representative of Australia, and his opinion on Empire matters was highly valued by British ministers.

After retiring from politics, Moore became President of the British Empire Steel Corporation, a company with interests in Western Australia and Canada. He was also a director of several important companies. He died on 28 October 1936 at a nursing home in London, following surgery.

Newton Moore Senior High School in Bunbury is named after him.


  1. ^ Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage, and Companionage. Kelly's Directories. 1916. p. 952. Retrieved 20 May 2019.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Cornthwaite Rason
Premier of Western Australia
Succeeded by
Frank Wilson
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir George Reid
Member of Parliament for St George's, Hanover Square
October 1918–December 1918
Succeeded by
Walter Long
Preceded by
Sir George Touche
Member of Parliament for Islington North
Succeeded by
Henry Cowan
Preceded by
Harry Becker
Member of Parliament for Richmond (Surrey)
Succeeded by
Sir William Ray