Trevor Donald Oldham (10 March 1900 – 2 May 1953) was an Australian politician, who was the leader of the Liberal Party in the state of Victoria from 1952 until his death in 1953. The eldest of three sons born to Arthur and Ethel Oldham, he was educated at Melbourne Church of England Grammar School and the University of Melbourne. He had enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 7 November 1918, four days before the Armistice.

Trevor Oldham
13th Deputy Premier of Victoria
In office
8 November 1949 – 27 June 1950
PremierThomas Hollway
Preceded byWilfrid Kent Hughes
Succeeded byKeith Dodgshun
Attorney-General of Victoria &
Solicitor-General of Victoria
In office
20 November 1947 – 27 June 1950
Preceded byBill Slater
Succeeded byThomas Mitchell
Personal details
Trevor Donald Oldham

(1900-03-10)10 March 1900
St Kilda, Victoria
Died2 May 1953(1953-05-02) (aged 53)
Jangipara, West Bengal, India
Political partyUnited Australia Party
Liberal Party
Liberal and Country Party
SpouseKathleen Cooch (m. 1929)
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne

He married Kathleen Cooch in 1929.[1]

Business career edit

Oldham graduated in law at Melbourne University in 1921, and practised as a solicitor until the weight of parliamentary duties limited his time. He was a past president of the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital and a former deputy chancellor of Melbourne University.

Oldham was a former director of Henry Berry & Co., Hoadley Chocolates Ltd, Ruskins Motor Bodys Ltd, and Ensign Dry Cleaners Ltd.

Political career edit

Oldham entered parliament in 1933 as a member of the United Australia Party. He won the seat of Boroondara and held it until the seat was divided in 1945. When the UAP was re-formed as the Liberal Party in 1945, Oldham won the seat of Malvern. He served as Attorney-General and Solicitor-General of Victoria in Thomas Hollway's first government in 1947, and also served as Deputy Premier of Victoria for eight months before the Liberals lost office to a Country Party and Labor Party alliance in 1950.[2]

In 1951, Les Norman replaced Hollway as Liberal leader, after the party became lukewarm about Hollway's plan of reforming Victoria's malapportioned electoral boundaries. In a provocative move, Hollway contested Norman's urban-based seat of Glen Iris at the 1952 election and won. With their leader having been defeated, the Liberal Party elected Oldham as leader and Henry Bolte as deputy leader.

Death edit

Oldham and his wife were killed in a plane crash in India on 2 May 1953, on their way to England to attend the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.[3] The BOAC Comet they were travelling in broke up mid-air a few minutes after leaving Calcutta (now Kolkata), amid severe thunderstorms and torrential rain.[4]

Indian authorities arranged a communal burial in Calcutta of all the victims of the Comet crash. A memorial service was held at St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne, on 6 May 1953.[5]

The Oldhams were survived by their three children, James 10, Byrony 8 and Kristin 6.[6]

References edit

  1. ^ Wright, R. "Oldham, Trevor Donald (1900–1953)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538.
  2. ^ "Trevor Donald Oldham". Re-Member: a database of all Victorian MPs since 1851. Parliament of Victoria. Archived from the original on 23 April 2023. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Mr. Trevor Oldham: Success in business and politics". The Age. 4 May 1953. p. 2. Retrieved 19 February 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "Comet Jet Crash in "Tempest". 43 Killed: Four Australians". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 May 1953. p. 1. Retrieved 19 February 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "Cathedral service for air victims". The Age. 6 May 1953. p. 3. Retrieved 19 February 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "Victorian Opposition Leader Among Jet Crash Victims". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 May 1953. p. 1. Retrieved 19 February 2019 – via National Library of Australia.


Victorian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by Member for Boroondara
District abolished
District created Member for Malvern
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Deputy Premier of Victoria
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Liberal and Country Party in Victoria
Succeeded by