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Selby Walter Munsie (1870–1938)

This article was published:

Selby Munsie, n.d.

Selby Munsie, n.d.

Selby Walter Munsie (1870-1938) miner, trade union official and parliamentarian 

Birth: 23 September 1870 at Gibbons Plains near Armidale, New South Wales son of native-born Alexander Welch Munsie (1825-1879), farmer, and Anna Maria Richardson (1834-1904), born at Rolvenden, Kent, England. Marriage: 24 November 1892 with Baptist forms at Hamilton, Newcastle, NSW, to Jessie Kerr (1876-1972). They had four daughters and two sons. Death: 12 March 1938 in St John of God Hospital at Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia. Religion: Buried with Baptist forms in a Presbyterian cemetery. 

  • Educated in state schools in Newcastle district, NSW. Commenced work in timber trade at Wallsend in 1884. Worked as a shoemaker in 1892.
  • Moved to Western Australia in 1895. Was a miner on Eastern Goldsfields. Lived in Paddington and later Kalgoorlie.
  • General president of the Federated Miners' Union.
  • President Eastern Goldfields District Council of Australian Labor Party for three successive terms at least. Member ALP federal Exec. 1923-1924, 1932-1934; President W.A. State Executive of ALP.
  • Elected Labor member of the Legislative Assembly for Hannans on 3 October 1911 and held the seat until his death. Minister without portfolio in 1924-1927; minister for mines and minister for health in 1927-1930 and 1933-1938.
  • In the first six years of his administration there was a considerable expansion of hospital services in the State with twenty-five new hospitals or extensions to existing hospitals being opened by him. Also, the Flying Doctor service was extended and medical services extended in the North-West to include full-time doctors.
  • Went to Canberra to stimulate passage of Gold Bounty Act to re-invigorate gold mining in Australia in 1930. Visited London to promote investment of over 1 000 000 pounds in mining industry in 1935.
  • Chairman, Board of Directors of Westralian Worker, the official paper of the ALP in WA.
  • Cause of death: myocardial degeneration and heart failure.

David Black and Geoffrey Bolton, Biographical Register of members of the parliament of Western Australia, vol 1, 1870-1930, (Perth, 1990), p 148; West Australian (Perth), 14 March 1938; J. S. Battye (ed), Cyclopedia of Western-Australia, Volume 1, (Adelaide 1912), p 350; Westralian Worker (Perth), 18 March 1938, p 1.

Additional Resources

  • photo, Westralian Worker (Perth), 23 June 1922, p 4

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Citation details

'Munsie, Selby Walter (1870–1938)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Selby Munsie, n.d.

Selby Munsie, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


23 September, 1870
Armidale, New South Wales, Australia


12 March, 1938 (aged 67)
Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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