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William Henry (Bill) Kitson (1886–1952)

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William Henry (Bill) Kitson (1886-1952) draper, clerk, trade union official and parliamentarian

Birth: 20 November 1886 at Leeds, Yorkshire, England, son of James Kitson (1853-1927), tailor, and Ellen Louisa, née Lister (1862-1927). Marriage: 23 January 1915 at St Paul’s Church, Beaconsfield, Western Australia, to Mabel Alport. They had one daughter and three sons. Death: 13 December 1952 in Charing Cross Hospital at London, England. Religion: Anglican. 

  • Educated to Higher Grade school at Leeds. Migrated to Western Australia in 1910.
  • Worked on the land as farmer at Torbay, near Albany, until about 1914. Was a draper at Beaconsfield in 1915.
  • Resided at Fremantle for twelve years. Secretary, Clerks’ Union 1917, federal president from about 1928 to 1934. Delegate, Fremantle District Council, 1915. Secretary, Trades Hall Fremantle, 1923-1924. Director, Peoples Printing and Publishing Co. Councillor in the East Fremantle Municipal Council for many years.
  • As Australian Labor Party candidate was elected member of the Legislative Council for West Province on 22 May 1924. Represented ALP at world migration congress in 1926.
  • Minister without portfolio from 22 June 1928 to 23 April 1930 and from 24 April 1933 to 27 August 1936. Minister for Police from 24 March 1937 to 18 April 1939 and from 9 December 1943 to 1947. Minister for Education from April 1939 to 9 December 1943 and from 27 August 1936 until 1 April 1947. Chief Secretary from 27 August 1946 to 1 April 1947. Resigned from parliament on 17 May 1947.
  • Sometime executive member of the Australian Workers’ Union including vice-president. Life member East Fremantle Football Club. Member, Rottnest Board of Control, 1925, president, 1933.
  • Agent-General for WA in London from 1947 until his death following a stroke. Cause of death: heart failure, hypertension and cerebral haemorrhage, and cerebral and coronary artery disease. His ashes were scattered over Thompson’s Bay, Rottnest.

David Black and Geoffrey Bolton, Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia, vol. 1, 1870-1930 (Perth 2001);  Westralian Worker, 9 May, 1924 p 11, 23 November 1934 p 6; Notes on ‘Members of Parliament’, p.115.

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Citation details

'Kitson, William Henry (Bill) (1886–1952)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Bill Kitson, 1928

Bill Kitson, 1928

State Library of Western Australia, 47866535

Life Summary [details]


20 November, 1886
Leeds, West Yorkshire, England


13 December, 1952 (aged 66)
London, Middlesex, England

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

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