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Panton, Alexander Hugh (Frank) (1877–1951)

Alexander Hugh (Frank) Panton (1877-1951) trade union official and politician

Birth: 20 March 1877, Alma near Maryborough Victoria. Son of Alexander Henry Panton, miner and Jessie Miller. Married: (1) Margaret Chidwick, Beaconsfield in 1906 (died 1911). They had one son, two daughters. (2) Ada Ethel Green in 1914. They had one son, one daughter. Died: 25 December 1951 Perth. Church of Christ.

  • Educated in Carisbrook, Victoria;
  • Began work as a miner in Victoria in the Carisbrook mines and joined the Creswick Miners' Union at age 16;
  • Worked in Allandale mine;
  • Moved to WA 1899 and worked Peak Hill mines; Assisted in organising miners union at Peak Hill and held posts of shop steward and president;
  • Served in Boer War 1901-02;
  • Returned to mining at Peak Hill, 1903; Member of Miners' Union, AWA 1903-04;
  • Pres. AWA South Fremantle branch; Member, AWA Board of Directors;
  • Settled in Fremantle in 1904 and became member of old General Workers' Union for 6 yrs following a variety of occupations including horse driving, lime burning and tunnelling in sewers;
  • Joined Shop Assistants Union, 1910;
  • Whilst working at Dalgety's became Pres. Fremantle Shop Assistants Union; Assisted in amalgamation of Perth and Fremantle section forming Metropolitan Union and became General Sec. 1912;
  • Rep. of shop assistants on Metropolitan District Council and became president;
  • After several attempts with Alex McCallum succeeded in obtaining an Award in Arbitration Court for union; Resigned from union to enlist for service in WWII;
  • Enlisted AIF in 1916; Served in 51st  Battalion in France and England; Private, wounded in April 1917;
  • Gen. Sec. of Metropolitan Shop Assistants and Warehouse Employees' Union, 1919; Provided a strong anti-nationalist government's voice in WA RSA 1918-19;
  • Elected MLC for Labor West Province 1919 (by election) to 1922 (defeated);
  • Successful in obtaining Award for goldfield miners; Expert on industrial legislation; Became officer of Shop and Factories Dept.; Took active role in securing 44 hour-week for women workers under Shop & Factories Act 1921;
  • Sec. Tramways Electricity Supply Officers' Union, 1922;
  • Joined commercial staff of 'Worker'; Storeman, 1923-24;
  • MLA Menzies 1924-1930, Leederville 1930-51;
  • Contested Perth (H of R) 1917 (whilst lying wounded in a military hospital opposing Fowler), Contested West Province 1922, Metropolitan-Sub.
  • Province 1922 (b/e); Speaker 1933-38; Minister for Health and Mines 1938-45, Lands and Labour 1945-47;
  • Pres. AWU; General pres. ALF WA branch, 1919-22; Chairman, Metropolitan Disputes Committee; Sec.; General sec. ALP Metropolitan Council 1923-24 and Pres. 1924; Trustee ALP; Member, ALP Federal Executive 1943-44; One of the best-known Labor men in WA.

Sources

  • Members of Parliament p.155;
  • information from Terry King? 1991;
  • C. Bolton & Ann Mozley, The Western Australian Legislature, 1870-1930 (Canberra, 1961), p.147;
  • Australian Worker, 6 June 1923 p.4;
  • Westralian Worker, 20 January 1922, p.4, 18 May 1923, p.5, 27 January 1933, p.3, 13 June 1941, p.7

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Panton, Alexander Hugh (Frank) (1877–1951)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/panton-alexander-hugh-frank-31929/text39386, accessed 18 September 2021.

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