Herbert Johnson (Australian politician)
Herbert Victor Johnson was an Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n politician.

Johnson was born in Northampton, Western Australia
Northampton, Western Australia
Northampton is a town north of Geraldton, in the Mid West region of Western Australia. At the 2006 census, the town had a population of 813. It is historic, with an outstanding National Trust building. The town lies on the North West Coastal Highway. Formerly named Gwalla after the location's...

 and educated at the local convent school. He worked as a shearer and became the first Western Australian shearer to join the Australian Workers' Union
Australian Workers' Union
The Australian Workers' Union is one of Australia's largest and oldest trade unions. It traces its origins to unions founded in the pastoral and mining industries in the 1880s, and currently has approximately 135,000 members...

 (AWU) when it organized the shearers in 1908. In 1913 he married Ethel May Lucas. He is said to have "sheared 3761 sheep in 17½ days in 1914 – a world record at that time". As an AWU organizer, he worked hard to maintain the conditions of pastoral workers during the 1920s and 1930s. He was secretary of the Geraldton
Geraldton, Western Australia
Geraldton is a city and port in Western Australia located north of Perth in the Mid West region. Geraldton has an estimated population at June 2010 of 36,958...

 branch of the Australian Labor Party from 1920 to 1934. In 1936, he was elected state secretary of the AWU and moved to the Perth
Perth, Western Australia
Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia and the fourth most populous city in Australia. The Perth metropolitan area has an estimated population of almost 1,700,000....

 suburb of Highgate
Highgate, Western Australia
Highgate is an inner suburb of Perth, Western Australia, located within the City of Vincent and north of the CBD. Highgate was named for the village of Highgate in Kent, England...


Political career

In 1940, Johnson won a by-election for Kalgoorlie
Division of Kalgoorlie
The Division of Kalgoorlie was an Australian Electoral Division in the state of Western Australia, named after the city of Kalgoorlie. The Division, which was proclaimed in 1900 as one of the original 75 divisions to be contested at the first Federal election, covered most of the land area of...

. On the death of John Curtin
John Curtin
John Joseph Curtin , Australian politician, served as the 14th Prime Minister of Australia. Labor under Curtin formed a minority government in 1941 after the crossbench consisting of two independent MPs crossed the floor in the House of Representatives, bringing down the Coalition minority...

 in July 1945, he was elected by the parliamentary caucus to the ensuing vacancy in the ministry and he was appointed Minister for the Interior
Minister for Home Affairs (Australia)
The Australian Minister for Home Affairs has been Brendan O'Connor since 6 June 2009. The Home Affairs portfolio brings together agencies such as the Australian Customs Service , the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, which were previously the...

—which among other things was responsible for northern development—and Assistant-Minister for Works and Housing from 1945 to 1946. He was chairman of the Australian War Memorial
Australian War Memorial
The Australian War Memorial is Australia's national memorial to the members of all its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in the wars of the Commonwealth of Australia...

's board of management from 1945 to 1949 and gained funding for its expansion to house collections from World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. His appointment as minister lapsed with the defeat of the Chifley
Ben Chifley
Joseph Benedict Chifley , Australian politician, was the 16th Prime Minister of Australia. He took over the Australian Labor Party leadership and Prime Ministership after the death of John Curtin in 1945, and went on to retain government at the 1946 election, before being defeated at the 1949...

 government at the 1949 election
Australian federal election, 1949
Federal elections were held in Australia on 10 December 1949. All 121 seats in the House of Representatives, and 42 of the 60 seats in the Senate were up for election, where the single transferable vote was introduced...

. He was unhappy with H. V. Evatt
H. V. Evatt
Herbert Vere Evatt, QC KStJ , was an Australian jurist, politician and writer. He was President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1948–49 and helped draft the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights...

's leadership of the party during the 1955 split that led to the creation of the Democratic Labor Party
Democratic Labor Party (historical)
The Democratic Labor Party was an Australian political party that existed from 1955 until 1978.-History:The DLP was formed as a result of a split in the Australian Labor Party that began in 1954. The split was between the party's national leadership, under the then party leader Dr H.V...

 and publicly expressed his concerns in 1957. This led the party to withhold endorsement of his candidacy at future elections, although he had already decided to retire at the 1958 election
Australian federal election, 1958
Federal elections were held in Australia on 22 November 1958. All 122 seats in the House of Representatives, and 32 of the 60 seats in the Senate were up for election...


He died in 1962 at Royal Perth Hospital
Royal Perth Hospital
Royal Perth Hospital is an 855-bed teaching hospital located on the northeastern edge of the CBD of Perth, Western Australia . Royal Perth Hospital also has specialised rehabilitation facilities at Shenton Park.-History:...

, survived by his wife, two of his three sons and three of his four daughters.
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