October 10 - 16, 2021: Issue 513


The Baird family of Mona Vale - the Wentworths of Newport

The first person to hold the Federal seat of Mackellar and the family he married into shows a legacy of people who served the community and a feisty independent soul who spoke up even when doing so resulted in his being left out, a trait he may have inherited via his genes from his great- grandfather.

Named in honour of Isobel Marion Dorothea Mackellar OBE, 1885–1968, the first time the name 'Mackellar' was used for an Electorate was the 1949 federal election when 'Bill' Wentworth, a descendant of William Charles Wentworth and D'arcy Wentworth, who once owned so much land in Pittwater and Manly, won the seat. He was living at Lauderdale street Manly at the time.

Bill Wentworth was an outspoken champion for his beliefs and others who had a deep compassion for those similarly ignored -  Australia's indigenous peoples.

Bill Wentworth was also backed up in choosing a lifetime partner whose family held similar views and practices that showed an exercising of compassion. The works done by their choice of lifetime partner also reinforce this compassion for people, for places and for a nation, was a lifetime practice.

(1950). Portrait of William Charles Wentworth, Liberal member for Mackellar, New South Wales, June 1950 Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-138002864 

Mackellar only came to be a division in the year prior to that 1949 election:

Mackellar 'Approved'

CANBERRA, Mon. — Members of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party said today that Caucus had approved the; name Mackellar for the electorate in which the Warringah Shire lies. They added that protests to the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) would not alter the decision. Liberal and Labor supporters at a meeting in Manly Council Chambers last Friday night decided to send a deputation to ask Mr. Chifley to help prevent the change of name. The Electoral Commissioners who redistributed the Federal seats recommended that the "old seat, in which the shire lies, retain the name Warringah. 

Caucus Approval 

They suggested the name Rawson for the new seat which includes the area from Cammeray to Balgowlah. Caucus approved the new electorates, but recommended changes in their names. One of the changes was to drop the name Rawson for the new seat, and call it Warringah, naming the balance of the old Warringah electorate Mackellar, in honor of the Australian poet, Dorothea Mackellar. The Minister for the Interior (Mr. Johnson) has given notice in the House of Representatives of a motion to adopt the Electoral Commissioners' report with the name changes proposed by Caucus. HT' Editorial, P. 8. Mackellar 'Approved' (1948, November 23). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 - 1954), p. 13. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article248347871 


New member tor Mackellar is Mr. W. C. Wentworth, a descendant of William Charles Wentworth. His small daughter, Georgina, brought him tea in bed yesterday at his home in Lauderdale Avenue, Manly. MEMBER FOR MACKELLAR (1949, December 12). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18143547 

A new member made history

SYDNEY. — The other day Bill Wentworth, Liberal member for Mackellar, made the finest maiden speech in a generation at Canberra. Critics who expected him to tilt at windmills found instead that he had put his finger on one of the gravest weaknesses of the current political machinery. There are now ten Senators from each State. Normally only five — ah uneven number — would have to be elected at one time. But in the event of a double dissolution, the whole ten — an even number — would face the electors. A STALEMATE This could result, in a stalemate, defeating the object of a double dissolution — to get a Senate majority for one side or the other. Supposing you have <1000 valid votes, and have to elect 10 Senators by PR. The quota would be 91. The first 10 Senators to get that quota would be elected. But only if one side got 60 ' per cent of the votes would an uneven proportion of Labor and non-Labor Senators be returned. . FAIRLY EVEN In spite -of landslides such as that on December 10j the aggregate voting in Commonwealth elections has always been fairly evenly divided between Lbor and non-Labor. Since World War I the defeated Party's aggregate vote has never fallen lower than 45 per cent. The victors have never gone higher than 55. For practical purposes, therefore, a double dissolution would have no effect on the Senate position. And Labor claims that it intends to force a double dissolution — possibly on the 1947 Bank Bill. To avoid the return of a 30-30 Senate, in the event of a double dissolution, the Government is now highly likely to submit' a referendum providing for a change in the proportion of Senators from each State. A new member made history (1950, March 21). The Evening Advocate (Innisfail, Qld. : 1941 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article212224489 

Bill had married, in Reno on June 7 1935, Barbara Chisholm Baird, one of three daughters of Henry Stuart Hamilton Baird (December 21st 1868 at Linton, Victoria, - October 6th 1940 at Mona Vale) and Mary Raymond Chisholm, (October 27, 1876, Sydney, New South Wales - April 22nd 1953, Auckland, New Zealand).  

Henry was the fourth son of Matthew Hamilton Baird and Mary Margaret Logan Baird (1834-1910), married February 3rd 1860. Matthew was Irish, his wife an Edinburgh, Scotland girl.

Mary, or 'Maisie' as she was known to kin, was a niece of Dame Alice Isabel ''Mother'' Chisholm and born to Phoebe Aphrasia nee Raymond (1845-1910) and Andrew Seton Chisholm (1833-1905), the third son of James Chisholm(1806 - 1888).

James Chisholm was a son of Mary Brown and James snr. (1772-1837), a member of the New South Wales Corps, who later became a wine and spirit merchant. After acquiring additional property leases in Martin Place, he received a government grant of 62 acres in 1822 and would became one of the founders of the Bank of New South Wales. James' Snr.s home, Calder House was built atop a hill overlooking the Chisholm Estate sometime in the decade following 1827. The house was romantically described by the Sydney Evening News, as possessing: “A beautiful staircase, spacious verandas, dormer windows and beautiful park-like grounds”.

James Chisholm Snr. died at the house in 1837 and was buried in the garden, until damage to the grave prompted his family to relocate his body to Camperdown Cemetery.

The first railway line for Sydney commenced operation in 1855 and ran between the Sydney Terminus at Devonshire Street and Parramatta Junction. The line ran through the garden of Calder House, prompting Chisholm’s wife Mary to leave for Goulburn.  A J.F. Castles took a lease over the Estate and opened a private school for boys. 

Reflecting on his idyllic childhood, former student William Freame recalled: “Bird nesting and blackberry gathering along the creek that rippled along the site of the present workshops until it lost itself at the Chinese gardens in Waterloo”.

The exclusive school for ‘the sons of gentleman’ educated many boys who went on to become prominent Sydney professionals. Percy Allan, Chief Engineer of the Department of Public Works, who designed the distinctive Pyrmont Bridge, was among the many politicians, solicitors, judges and bank managers educated at Calder House. The house and land were resumed in 1880 to establish Eveleigh Workshops and Calder House became the residence of Eveleigh’s General Works Manager. A recognisable landmark on the train journey to Central for many years, the distinctive house was demolished in 1924.

Calder House circa 1870, courtesy State Records of NSW

City Photo Company photographer. (). School boys and teachers outside Calder House boys' school, Redfern, Sydney, 1876 - and enlarged section from Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-153489793

James Chisholm Jnr. married Elizabeth Margaret Kinghorne on June 9th 1829 in Sydney and they had nine sons. James settled in the Goulburn district when he was young and acquired extensive landed property there, including squatting interests. He held 'East Bland Plains', 'Kenu', 'Myali', Mount McPherson', 'Gledswood' (near Narellan) and 'Kippilaw' (near Goulburn), the latter acquired through marriage. He was elected a Member of the first NSW Legislative Council, September 1st 1851 to 29 Feb 1856, 4 years 6 months;  an Elective Member of the first Legislative Council 1843 - 1856 for the Counties of King and Georgiana and Member of the NSW Legislative Council, January 27th 1865 to June 24th 1888, 23 years 4 months 29 days; Life Appointment under the Constitution Act. Date of Writ of Summons October 17th 1864.

Phoebe Raymond and Andrew Seton Chisholm married in the Spring of 1865:

CHISHOLM—RAYMOND—September 9th, at St. Philip's Church, by the Very Rev. the Dean of Sydney, Andrew Seton, son of the Hon. James Chisholm, Esq., M.L.C., of Kippielaw, Goulburn, to Phoebe Aphrasia, eldest daughter of John Crone Raymond, Esq., Manager Union Bank of Australia, Sydney. Family Notices (1865, September 16). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166663603

Children of the union, from NSW BDM's:


It is their daughter Mary Raymond Chisholm who forms a core part of this history, seemingly born at Calder House and possibly the baby in the pram in the photo above:

CHISHOLM.—October 27, at the Grammar School, the wife of Andrew Chisholm, of a daughter. Family Notices (1876, October 28). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13382409

COLLECTOR. (From our correspondent.) His Majesty's birthday was observed by a good many here as a holiday, and passed off very pleasantly, owing principally to the liberality of Andrew S. Chisholm Esq., who invited the public school children with their parents and friends to a tea party and evening's entertainment, in the public school-room, and which he kindly provided for at his own expense. As I had not the pleasure of being present till near the latter end of the proceedings, I am unable to give as detailed a report as I would like. 

About four o'clock in the evening, the appointed hour; a large number sat down in the schoolroom to enjoy the good things provided. On the table were to be found endless varieties of confectionery and preserved fruits, sufficient to tempt the most fastidious epicure. After the first party had thoroughly regaled themselves, a second, and if I am not mistaken, a third sat down to supply the wants of the inner man. The tables were now cleared, and the room prepared for the entertainment, which commenced at six o'clock p.m. J. J. Waddell Esq, occupied the chair, and in introducing the proceedings urged upon the children the necessity of persevering in their studies and of being strictly truthful. The chairman then presented a number of handsome prizes to the children which Mr. Vincent had kindly given. 

The children (accompanied by Mrs. Chisholm on the harmonium) now sang some pieces in a very pleasing manner. Next on the programme were some songs, which were sung very sweetly by some of the young ladies present. 'Then came readings by several of the school children, which were really well given, and reflected great credit on their teacher. Mr. Vincent now introduced a magic-lantern, some of the scenes of which were very funny, and created considerable amusement while others were very interesting. 

The indoor proceedings were now brought to a close by a hearty vote of thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Chisholm for their kindness and generosity, and by the singing of the National Anthem, after which all retired to the school grounds, where a large bonfire had been made, to witness a splendid display of fire works which Mr. Chisholm had procured for the occasion. It was a beautiful and starlight night, and showed the fireworks off to perfection, the noise of which sometimes resembled a military engagement, Alter a couple of hours of first class amusement, all started for home thoroughly well satisfied with their evening's entertainment. COLLECTOR. (1876, May 31). The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle (NSW : 1864 - 1881), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article101454787

Department of Mines, 
Sydney, 8th November, 1876.
NOTICE is hereby given, that unless, within thirty days from the date hereof, the applicants for the undermentioned Gold Mining Leases furnish the Warden or Warden's Clerk with such a description of the land applied for as shall enable the Surveyor to find it, or attend on the ground and point out the boundary marks of such land, the applications will be refused.
[76-6;921] JOHN LUCAS.
TUMUT And ADELONG Mining District.
396 John J. Waddell, Andrew S, Chisholm, and others. - near the junction of Bell's Creek with Grundaroo Creek, adjoining R. Elliott's ground - 4 acres.
NOTICE TO APPLICANTS FOR GOLD-MINING LEASES. (1876, December 1). New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), p. 4873. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223098344

Death of Mr. A S Chisholm

Mr. Andrew Seton Chisholm, son of the late Hon. Jas. Chisholm, died this (Saturday) morning at his residence, Lawrenny, Goulburn, at the age of 72 years. The cause of death was heart failure, following an attack of pneumonia. Mr. Chisholm, who was widely respected, was of a retiring disposition, but assisted in a very liberal manner movements for the benefit of the community. He took a keen interest in public matters, but played no prominent part in public life. 

The deceased gentleman had until late years carried on pastoral pursuits. In the early days he visited the Darling country, afterwards settling down at Winderradeen, Lake George. Subsequently he came to Goulburn for a time and then built Cardross, where he lived until a few years ago, when he went into residence at Lawrenny. He was a member of the Goulburn Local Land Board. The funeral will leave Lawrenny at 3.30 to-morrow (Sunday) afternoon for St. Saviour's Cathedral. After a short service the cortege will proceed to the new general cemetery. Bishop Barlow and Canon Kingsmill will officiate at the obsequies. DEATH OF MR. A. S. CHISHOLM. (1905, October 21). Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 - 1940), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98726398


Mrs. A. Seton [Phoebe Aphrasia] Chisholm, of Victoria-street, died at her late residence at ten o'clock on Friday morning at the age of 66 years. She had not been well recently and her condition gave her friends cause for great anxiety. The immediate cause of death was heart failure. Deceased was a daughter of the late Mr. Raymond, who was for several years the manager of the Union Bank in Sydney. She leaves three daughters, all married. They are Mrs. Norman Alston, who as Miss Birdie Chisholm was well-known as a vocalist, Mrs. Henry Baird, of Bowral, and Mrs. Arthur Onslow, of Sydney. Her remains will be interred alongside those of her late husband, Mr. A. Seton Chisholm, in the Church of England portion of the general cemetery. OBITUARY. (1910, February 5). Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 - 1940), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98803480

Father of Henry, Matthew Hamilton Baird (1819 -1899), and his brother Samuel Baird (1817-1903) owned several pastoral runs in the Western Districts close to the present-day towns of Woolsthorpe and Hawkesdale. These included Kangatong, Glengowe, Warrong and Woodlands, which were acquired between 1866 and 1886. Matthew Hamilton Baird also previously owned Mount Bute near Skipton, from which the many used 'M H Baird of Mount Bute' stems. 

Unidentified homestead associated with Matthew Hamilton Baird, possibly Glenaire Station. Author / Creator: Lawry, Charles Hamilton, b. 1861, artist.. Date 1876. Courtesy State Library of Victoria

"Corinella" Melbourne residence of Matthew Hamilton Baird of Mount Bute. Tennyson Street, St. Kilda. Date(s) of creation: [ca. 1883-ca. 1898]. Courtesy the State Library of Victoria Accession No: H83.363/7. Image No: a14576


BAIRD. —On the 3rd September, at Restalrig, Mercer-road, Malvern, Matthew Hamilton Baird, in his 81st year. Family Notices (1899, September 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article9028921 

Another of Victoria's earliest colonist, Mr. Matthew Hamilton Baird, who arrived in 1840, passed away at his residence, Mercer-road, Malvern, on Sunday morning, at the age of 80 years. The deceased gentleman was for many years largely interested in pastoral pursuits both in Victoria and New South Wales. General News. (1899, September 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 4 (EVENING). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63677210 

The will of Matthew Hamilton Baird, of Malvern, was lodged to-day. The private estate is valued at £29,170, which be bequeathed to his children. MR. M. H. BAIRD'S WILL. (1899, December 1). The Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth, WA : 1855 - 1901), p. 12. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article67184677 

R.V.B. & A.S. K.
No. 198
The Bairds

IN 1841 Matthew Hamilton Baird, a stripling, but a married man, landed at Melbourne. He came from the north of Ireland, the son of John Baird, of Strabane. With Joseph Cusworth he started in the grocery business in Bourke street, but the partnership was dissolved in 1843. Things were very black in the colony of Port Phillip then, and young Baird went up country, where he settled down in the border or new country, north of the Glenelg River, and for the most part occupied by settlers from over the border.

With Henry Hodgkinson - of Hodgkinson brothers, who were the first settlers on the Loddon, occupying Maiden Hills in 1840-Baird took up Lingmer, known also as the Salt Lakes. Also in company with another Hodgkinson, he took up and stocked Coniay, away north across the Little Mallee. Then the original firm, Baird and Hodgkinson, added an area of 60,000 acres adjoining Coniay, and named the run Lockhart. Serviceton, the boundary township, is in the centre of Lockhart.

Afterwards Bunyip was acquired from Andrew McKinley. Meanwhile the distant Lingmer had been sold to Sir Robert Officer, who had taken up Mt. Talbot. Baird lost both his partners early in 1851, and he himself drew out of the border country the following year. Coniay and Lockhart he sold to Young and Lloyd, and Mt. Bunyip to Baillie and Hamilton.

In the quaintly named ship Posthumous Matthew's elder brother Samuel and his sister came out from Ireland, and the brothers bought Pigoreet West from John Browne, and they turned this property over to David Clarke after possessing it only 18 months. Then the Bairds entered into partnership with Richard Gibbs and Robert and Byron Ronald, and the firm, Baird, Ronald, and Co., acquired Mt. Bute from Charles Oakley. Gibbs and the Ronalds dropped out very soon, but the Bairds kept together, speculating in land. They acquired Kangatong, the original Cox's Heifer Station, and Woodlands, nearby, as well as several other smaller properties, and in 1872 they sold the valuable Mt. Bute, to Sir Samuel Wilson, of salmon acclimatisation fame.

Matthew died in 1899, aged 80 years, and Samuel in 1903, aged 86 years. They were forceful characters, and left their mark in the records of the country in the making. PASTORAL PIONEERS (1937, November 6). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946), p. 38. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141811220 

Two early families with big land holdings is what is apparent from these small newspaper notes. Henry S H Baird still kept buying lots of land at Camden, even into the mid 1920's. 

This holding was sold off by his brother Matthew Alexander Baird (born 1872, the youngest child) in 1914 - although Henry must have inherited some of the acres too as he, and his wife after he passed away, also sold parcels in smaller 10 to 40 acre lots:


Messrs. Fred. Everingham and Co. report having sold by private treaty in conjunction with Messrs. Joseph Leeds and Co., of Sydney, the Boco station, situated about 35 miles from Bombala, in the Monaro district. New South Wales, containing about 6000 acres of freehold and C. P. land, Crown and leasehold lands given in, with the live stock now depasturing thereon, comprising about 7000 merino sheep, a small nerd of Durham cattle, a number of well bred horses, together with the household furniture, station plant, stores, &c., at a satisfactory price for net cash to Mr. Mathew Hamilton Baird, of Corinella, Balaclava. SALE OF STATION PROPERTY. (1890, June 21). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196972077

BOCO STATION SOLD. NIMITYBELLE. Race station, owned by Mr. M. A. Baird, has been sold to Mr. M'Donald. The purchase price exceeds £30,000. BOCO STATION SOLD. (1914, February 27). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15480734

Henry Stuart Hamilton Baird, pictured at right, married Mary Raymond Chisholm in the early autumn of 1906:


Miss Maisie Chisholm, daughter of Mrs. A. Seton Chisholm, of Goulburn, N.S.W., was quietly married on March 24 to Mr Henry Baird, of Nimitybelle, at St. Stephen's Church, Edgecliffe-road. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Canon Kingsmill, of Goulburn, and only the relations of the bride were present at the church. On March 28 Mr. and Mrs. Baird leave by the Yawata Maru for Japan, where they will spend four or five months. Weddings. (1906, March 28). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1919), p. 43. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71528823 


BAIRD—CHISHOLM.—March 24, 1906, at St Stephen's, Woollahra, by the Rev Canon Kingsmill, Henry Stuart Hamilton, fourth son of the late M. H. Baird, Melbourne, to Mary Raymond, second daughter of the late A. Seton Chisholm, Goulburn. Family Notices (1906, March 28). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14761983 

Children of the union per NSW BDMs:


Henry and Mary Baird established a holiday home named 'Corinella' in what today is called Waterview street Mona Vale and was located at the end of Halesmith Road, next to Winni Jimmi park, from around the mid 1920's. This image shows what that outlook and view was then:

''Southern Pittwater, Newport'' - from Album 'Samuel Wood - postcard photonegatives of Avalon, Bilgola and Newport, ca. 1928', courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Winji-Jimmi Point - Mona Vale The Pick of Pittwater - Hale-Smith Road 1919. Item No.: c046820027 from Mona Vale Subdivisions folder, courtesy State Library of NSW.

Warringah Shire Council records show: Winji Jimmi subdivision 3/1/1919: Heydon & Heydon forwarding cheque for £160 for Winji Jimmi Subdivision road. Council resolved; that the writers be informed that the Council is prepared to carry out the work in accordance with the letter so far as the money will go, but that it will probably not be able to start the work before the 26th instant and that it will not object to the selling of the allotments before the subdivision road is constructed. It was decided to suggest the new road be named Hale-Smith Street.

Advertised January 26th, 1919

Miss Barbara Baird will leave for Goulburn on Monday to be the guest of General and Mrs. McNicoll at the Presbyterian Ladies' College during Old Girls' Week. She will then go on to Leura to stay with Mrs. Arthur Mort until Christmas week, when, with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baird, and her sisters, Misses Patricia and Valerie, she will leave to spend the summer months at the family' s cottage at Newport. IN THE NEWS (1929, December 6). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 19 (CRICKET STUMPS). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225150715

Warringah Shire Council records provide:

November 26th, 1935: Re Request from M. Baird for permission to erect a permanent fence in place of the existing one to protect the ornamental trees planted by her at the dead-end of Hale-Smith Road Pittwater: Resolved, That permission be granted. 

Land Board Office, 6/1/39, inquiring whether Council knows of any objection to the granting of the application of Mary Baird for an extension of the term of her Special Lease below highwater mark of Pittwater off Halesmith Road for skids, slip, wharf and baths. Resolved, - That Council raise no objection.

6/11/1945: Metropolitan Land Board Office, inquiring whether there is any objection to the granting of a Special Lease to Mrs M.R. Baird for a wharf and bathing place fronting her place in Halesmith Road Winni-Jimmi. .Resolved, - That Council raise no such objection, as this is an existing Lease. 

Parish Narrabeen, county Cumberland, Special Lease 1927 41, Metropolitan, for wharf and bathing place (private).

Land applied for—37 perches below high-water mark at Mona Vale, Pittwater, fronting lot 13 of d.p. 9,500. Applicant— Mary Raymond Baird. Objections may be lodged at the Land Board Office, Sydney. (6050). APPLICATIONS FOR LEASES FOR SPECIAL PURPOSES. (1946, March 8). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 592. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article224761973

Alan attended school at Goulburn until the family moved to Sydney. He was a Trainee Engineer when he enlisted as a 22 year old in December 1939 to serve in World War II ,NX251, and was assigned to the 2/2nd Australian Infantry Battalion, which faced some of the most horrendous battles. The 2/2nd Battalion was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army raised for service as part of the all-volunteer Second Australian Imperial Force during World War II. The 2/2nd Battalion was raised at Victoria Barracks, Sydney on 24 October 1939 as part of the 16th Brigade of the 6th Australian Division. The battalion was deployed to the Middle East and in early 1941 took part in the first ground action undertaken by Australian troops during the war during the Battle of Bardia before helping to capture Tobruk. This means Alan was a 'Rat of Tobruk' although he was 'dangerously ill with typhoid' by June 1941.

He also disembarked at Kantara, the name of a canteen made famous by his relative Dame Alice Chisholm in WWI.

In April, the battalion briefly fought in Greece, before being evacuated after the Allied forces were overwhelmed by German forces. Some members of the battalion took part in the Battle of Crete, after which the battalion undertook garrison duties in Syria. In mid-1942, the 2/2nd undertook defensive duties in Ceylon before returning to Australia. 

Military Wedding

AFTER nearly three years war service abroad. Captain Alan Pike, son of Mr. W. A. Pike of North Sydney, will be married tonight to Miss Audrey Primrose, younger daughter of Ald and Mrs. H L. Primrose, of North Sydney. Canon Baker will officiate at St. Thomas' Church. North Sydney. The bride will wear the wedding gown of silver brocade formerly worn by her sister, Mrs J. Bisset who will be matron of honor wearing an Alice blue taffeta frock. Captain Alan Baird recently returned from overseas service, will be best man. Military Wedding (1942, August 25). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 6 (LATE FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article231779648

The 2/2nd subsequently took part in the fighting against the Japanese along the Kokoda Track and then around Buna–Gona. After a period of reorganisation and training in Australia throughout 1943–44, late in the war the battalion was committed to the Aitape–Wewak campaign before being disbanded in early 1946 after the war.

Alan was mentioned in despatches in the London Gazette, June 23rd, 1942. He had been promoted to Major in June 1943. He married a girl named June and they lived at Lakemba for a while before moving to Nedlands, Western Australia, a state two of his sisters husbands originated.

His sisters Barbara Chisolm Baird, later WentworthPatricia Hamilton, later Syme, and Valerie, like him, served their community throughout their lives.

Although their father Henry was an intensely private gentleman  who urged them all to not seek any attention in the press, the papers of the day found their activities and selves worthy of publication, as in this instance:

MISS VALERIE BAIRD, one of the three daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baird, who has been journeying to and from her home at Mona Vale during the last few weeks to rehearse for the Pyjama Ballet. This, together with the Pirates' Ballet, promises to be one of the most attractive features, on the programme of the Gum Tree Cabaret to-morrow evening. Such a popular race-week fixture is this proving to be that another 500 tickets had to be printed, making the number now in circulation 1500. The event is at David Jones', and is to help the funds of both the Bush Nursing Association and the C.W.A. hospitals. Photo:— Falk. Military Merrymaking (1931, October 5). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article246564629 

Some wedding and Social Notices from the papers of the past:

A New South Wales visitor, Miss Patricia Baird, third daughter of Mr and. Mrs Henry Baird, Mona Vale, N.S.W., who is engaged to Mr Colin York Syme. She has been staying with her fiancé's parents at Mont Albert. Family Notices (1932, November 24). Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 - 1939), p. 21. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article149611081


Only relatives of the bride and groom were present at the wedding, yesterday afternoon, of Miss Patricia Baird and Mr. Colin Syme.

THE marriage was solemnised at St. St. Michael's Church, Vaucluse, Rev. H. W. Barder officiating. The bride is the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baird, of Mona Vale, and the groom is the sec-ond son of Mr. and Mrs. York Syme, of Melbourne. A smart gown of rose beige ripple marocain graced the bride, and she pinned a spray of or-chids to her brown fox fur, and added a tiny hat of brown velvet. Mr. Keith Carnegie came from Melbourne to be best man. Valerie and Barbara, the bride's sisters, were frocked in autumn tones — Valerie in a brown and orange ensemble, and Barbara in a charming henna suit, brown coat, and hat. Over a hundred guests were invited to the reception, held afterwards, at the Queen's Club, which was decorated with Radiance roses. Mrs. Baird received her guests in a charming frock of guardsman's blue waffle cloth. Mrs. Syme (senior) covered her frock of black and yellow figured marocain with a black coat, and added a black hat. 


Among those present were:— Mr. W. Macfarlane, Mrs. Edward Kater, Misses Nelly and Kathleen McCarthy, Mrs. Francis, Miss Mackellar, Mrs. H. Raymond, Mr. and Mrs. Norman Fitz Hill, Miss E. M. Baird, Mrs. H. Clarke, Miss Betty Clarke, Mr. and Mrs. F. Russell. Misses Audrey, Elsa, and Sybil Russell, Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Weigall, Mr. and Mrs. C. Ebsworth, Mr. and Mrs. G. Priddle, Misses Jean and Gordon Kilgour, Mrs. Fisher, Mr. and Mrs, Lytton Hitchens, and Miss Joan Lytton Hitchens (Moss Vale), Mrs. A. Morrice, Dr. and Mrs. M. Alcorn (Moss Vale), Misses Betty and Margaret Chisholm, Mr. and Mrs. Nixon Binney (Moss Vale), Dr. and Mrs. Clarence Read, Miss Margot Read, Misses Ida and Lorna Garnock, Mr. and Mrs. D. Mackey, Mrs. Gerald Campbell (Moss Vale), Mr. and Mrs. D. Cowper (Moss Vale), Mrs. F. A. Onslow, Mr. and Mrs. Hudson, Mr. J. Spencer Brunton, Mr. and Mrs. T. McCartry (Moss Vale), Miss Betty McCarthy (Moss Vale) and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Mort (Leura). Others present included Mrs. F. Cowper, Mr. and Mrs. B. Harisson, Mrs. H. Weigall, Mr. and Mrs. Maple Brown, Mr. Bruce Maple Brown. Mr. and Mrs. T. Donkin, Miss Consett Stephen, Miss Janet Stephen, Miss Clare Gilchrist, Mrs. F. Jensen (Exeter), Dr. and Mrs. George Armstrong, Mr. R. Raymond, Mr. Alexander Gordon, Mrs. Carbould (Moss Vale), Miss M. Nicholson (Moss Vale), and Mr. and Mrs. Fitz Hill. 

Also present were: — Dame Alice Chisholm, Mr. Bertram Chisholm, Mrs. Bernard Nash, Mrs. Pugh, Mrs. John Baird (Gunning), Miss Leigh Baird (Gunning), Mr. Ian Baird (Gunning), Messrs. James and Bill Throsby, Mr. Max Meares, Mr. Bob Boydell, Mrs. T. Giblin, Misses Phyllis and Patricia Giblin, Mrs. Harry Chisholm, Mrs. Lucy Mansfield, Mr. John Mansfield, Mrs. F. Grosse, Mrs. Nell McNeil, Miss Miriam Chisholm (Goulburn), Miss Theo Ryrie, Misses Molly and Marcia Bowyer Smyth (Moss Vale), Rev. and Mrs. H. W. Barder, Miss Maud Mackay, Mrs. R. L. Chirnside, Miss Alison Syme, and Mrs. Hope Pritchard (London). MISS BAIRD WEDS (1933, April 6). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article246244113 


Mrs. Henry Baird, of Corinella, Mona Vale, entertained a number of former residents of Goulburn at a "back to Goulburn" party, which she gave at Marmion, Double Bay, on Sunday afternoon. The hostess, who wore a gown of guardsman blue waffle-cloth, was assisted in entertaining by her daughters, the Misses Barbara and Valerie Baird. Among those present were Rear-Admiral and Mrs. Dalglish, Lady Stephen, Mrs. Harry Chisholm, Miss Boissiei, Dr. W. Chisholm, Miss Finolay, Mrs. H. Atkinson, Brigadier-General and Mrs. W. R. McNicoll, Mrs. and Miss Maple-Brown, Mrs. Fairlie. Mrs Mansfield. Mrs. Giblin and the Misses Giblin, Mrs. F. Arnheim, Mr. and Mrs. H. Morris, Mrs. M. Bowyer. Mr. and Mrs. T. Wilshire. Mrs. and Miss Alison, Mrs. H. Bucknell. Miss Philippa Alston, Misses Blomfield. Mrs. D. P Dickson, Mrs. H. Arnold. Mr. and Mrs. de L. Arnold. Mrs. B. Nash, Mrs. Pugh, Mr. and Mrs. G. Shepherd, Mr. R. Raymond. Mrs. H. L. McKellar, Mr. and Mrs F. Donkin. Miss Claire Gilchrist, Mr. and Mrs D. Gilchrist. Mrs. M. Irvine. Miss Anita Onslow. Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Inman. Mr. Bill Gordon. Mr. and Mrs. Sep. Osborne, Miss Beryl Osborne, the Misses Betts. Messrs. Ronald and Frederick McNicoll, W. Shepherd. John Mansfield. Bill Throsby, and Dr. Throsby. BACK TO GOULBURN PARTY. (1933, July 18). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16991910

Wedding at St. Michaels, Vaucluse.

The wedding of Miss Patricia Baird and Mr. Colin Syme was celebrated at St. Michael's Church, Vaucluse, last week, the Rev. H. Barder performing the ceremony. The bride, who is the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baird, of Corinella, Mona Vale, wore her travelling frock of rose ripple morocain, with a spray of frangipanni finishing her fur necklet. The bridegroom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. York Syme, of Melbourne. Mr. Keith Carnegie, of Melbourne, was best man. The bride's parents, after the ceremony, entertained a number of guests at a reception at the Queen's Club, which was lavishly decorated with pink roses. Mr. and Mrs. Syme will make their home in Melbourne. Women's World (1933, April 12). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 39. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165959982 

From Melbourne. Mrs. Colin Syme, of Melbourne, formerly Miss Patricia Baird, and her small son, Robin, are the guests of Mrs. Syme's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baird, at Mona Vale. SOCIAL and PERSONAL. (1936, August 18). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17261825 

Colin York Syme, later Sir, was born on April 22nd 1903 at Claremont, Perth, eldest of four children of Victorian-born Francis Mark Syme, an insurance inspector, and his South Australian-born wife Marion Barr, née Gardiner. Colin attended (1912-19) Scotch College, Perth, before commencing studies in the faculty of arts at the University of Western Australia in 1920. The family returned in the following year to his father’s home State and Colin completed his studies at the University of Melbourne (LL.B, 1923).

He became a lawyer, businessman, technological innovator, and medical research administrator. He was noted as Chairman of BHP for nineteen years (1952–71), and President of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research for seventeen years (1961–78).

He joined the Melbourne legal firm of Hedderwick, Fookes and Alston in 1923. An articled clerk, Mr. Syme had ambitions to become a barrister, but after the premature death of Bruce Hedderwick in 1925, he accepted an offer to stay at the firm and was made a partner in 1928, remaining so until 1966.

In 1937, he became a director of BHP and many of its subsidiaries, including Tubemakers of Australia, Australian Iron and Steel, Rylands Bros and the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation. He was also a director of several other companies, including Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand, Elder Smith Goldsbrough Mort, the Private Investment Company for Asia and the International Iron and Steel Institute.

In 1972, the Federal Government set up a committee under the Chairmanship of Sir Colin Syme to advise it on science and technology. It was known as the Syme Committee. In 1973 he and Dr Sir Lance Townsend co-chaired an inquiry into Victorian health services, which produced findings widely known as the Syme-Townsend report, a major outcome of which was the creation of the Health Commission of Victoria.

Late in his career, he was President of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. When he retired from the latter position in 1978, the Board established the Colin Syme Fellowship Fund, to nurture the career development of a talented young investigator within the Institute.

On 8 June 1963, Colin Syme was made a Knight Bachelor. On 6 June 1977, he was appointed a Knight of the Order of Australia (AK), "for extraordinary and meritorious service to industry, particularly in the fields of research and technology".

He was the inaugural President of the Order of Australia Association, from January 1980 to January 1983. He was an Honorary Doctor of Laws. His portrait, painted by Judy Cassab, hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. Holding many additional offices and gaining awards along the way, he became a member of the International Advisory Committee for the Chase Manhattan Bank in 1965 and a vice-chairman of the Private Investment Co. for Asia in 1969. He chaired the Nuffield Foundation Australian Advisory Committee, was a member (1976-77) of the Interim Australian Science and Technology Council and a director (1971-77) of the Australian Industry Development Corporation. An honorary member (1966) of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, he received honorary degrees from the University of New South Wales (D.Sc., 1960) and Monash University (LL.D, 1981) and the (Sir) John Storey medal (1971) from the Australian Institute of Management.

Biographers state Sir Colin was one of the leading businessmen of his generation;

''His success came from his capacity for hard work, common sense and balanced perspective. The boards he chaired worked harmoniously; he sought consensus rather than conflict. While the press saw him as a reserved man, he described himself as ‘gregarious’, and a lover of good food and wine. He possessed a warm sense of humour and, for all his power and influence, he was a modest man. A member of both the Melbourne and the Australian clubs, he served as the latter’s president in 1971-72; his standard luncheon order there was a half serving of whiting. Although living in Toorak, he continued to drive an old Holden car, used a battered plastic briefcase and wore well-used suits and coats. He enjoyed fly-fishing, describing it as ‘a combination of art and science – a skill never finally learnt which creates a further striving for learning’. A remote shack ‘beyond Eildon’ enabled him to pursue this passion.'' [4.]

Predeceased by his wife (d.1981) and survived by their daughter and three sons, Syme died on 19 January 1986 at Howqua and was cremated. His estate was sworn for probate at $1,889,368. 

Valerie Baird married one of Australia's best Navy men in the Summer of 1935:

Miss Baird Engaged To Naval Man

The engagement is announced from London of Miss Valerie Baird second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baird, of Mona Vale, Sydney, to Lieutenant Humphrey Becher, R.A.N. , only son of Mr. and Mrs. F. Becher, of Harvey, Western Australia. Miss Baird is staying in London with several other nurses with whom she trained at Karitane. Her fiancé is also in England and is stationed at Portsmouth. Miss Baird Engaged To Naval Man (1934, January 30). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 14 (FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article230512460 

MRS. HUMPHREY BECHER Formerly Miss Valerie Baird, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baird, of Mona Vale, whose marriage was celebrated at St. Michael's, Vaucluse. (Photo: Dayne.) RECENT BRIDES (1935, January 16). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 22. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166110621

Arch of Steel

All the customary glitter of a naval wedding - gold-braided uniforms and the crossed swords of officers as an arch for the bridal party-made a picturesque ceremony of the wedding yesterday afternoon of Miss Valerie Baird to Lieut. Humphrey Becher, R.A.N.

The pretty little church of St. Michael's, Vaucluse, was the setting for the ceremony, and as it is surrounded by lawns and has no flight of steps up to the church door, fellow-officers of the bridegroom, who is stationed at the RAN, depot, lined up on either side of the porch for the traditional arch of steel as the bridal party came out of the church door.

The bride, who is the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baird, of Corinella, Mona Vale, was given away by her father. Her gown was of ivory angel-skin lace, with raglan sleeves, tight from the elbow to the wrist, and adorned at the neck with flowers of the lace. The skirt was slim-fitting and flared at the back into trained lines. Over it she wore a veil of Carrickmacross lace, over two hundred years old, which was lent by her aunt, Mrs. John Baird, and which she wore mounted on another veil of tulle and secured with a cap of the same lace as her gown, made in Dutch bonnet shape, with a stiffened brim. Her flowers were unconventional, being a sheaf of deep crimson roses.

The bride's sister, Miss Barbara Baird, and her cousin, Miss Leigh Baird, were the brides-maids, and wore gowns of apple-green angelskin lace, with three frills falling from the knees, forming a semi-trained effect. Mirror glass clasps at each side of the corsage were the only ornaments. They wore narrow wreaths of pink baby roses, and carried sheaves of pink water-lilies.

The bridegroom, who is the only son of Mr. and Mrs. F. J. Becher, of Western Australia, was attended by Lieut.-Commander Brame, RN., as best man, and Commander A. H. Spurgeon, RAN., as groomsman. The Rev. Horace Barder performed the ceremony.

Two hundred guests were entertained at the Queen's Club by the bride's parents after the ceremony. Mrs. Henry Baird wore a navy blue floral crepe gown under a navy swagger coat, and her hat was of navy blue straw.

Among those invited were Mrs. John Baird, Mrs. Morrice (Moss Vale), Miss Morrice, Miss V. Maclean, Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Weigall. Mrs. H. Weigall, Lady Bavin. Miss Valerie Bavin. Miss Janet Stephen, Miss Nancy Consett Stephen, Miss Thea Milner Stephen, Misses Deborah and Madeline Mackay Sim, Mr. W. M. Macfarlane, Mrs. Mansfield, Mr. John Mansfield, Miss Gordon Kilgour, Misses Phyllis and Patricia Giblin. Mrs. Gerald Campbell, Miss L. Mackellar, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Mort (Leura), Miss Miriam Chisholm (Goul-burn), Misses Betty. Margaret, and Joy Chis-holm, Mrs. Marie Irvine, Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Maple Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Holmes. GOLD BRAID. (1935, January 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17137206

A PICTURESQUE NAVAL WEDDING at St. Michael's Church, Vaucluse, yesterday. Lieut. Humphrey Becher, of Flinders Base, Melbourne, taking his bride, formerly Miss Valerie Baird, of Mona Vale, through the arch of steel. No title (1935, January 8). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 - 1954), p. 14. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article246497273


All the customary glitter of a naval wedding-gold-braided uniforms and the crossed swords of the officers as an arch for the bridal party-made a picturesque ceremony of the wedding of Miss Valerie Baird, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baird, of Corinella, Mona Vale, and Lieut. Humphrey Becher, R.A.N., only son of Mr. and Mrs. F. J. Becher, of Harvey, Western Australia, which took place in St. Michael's Church, Vaucluse, Sydney, recently, the Rev. Horace Barder officiating. The bride who was given away by her father, was gowned in ivory angel-skin lace, with raglan sleeves, tight from the elbow to the wrist, and adorned at the neck with flowers of the lace. The slim-fitting skirt flared at the back into trained lines, and over it fell a veil of Carrickmacross lace, over 200 years old, lent by the bride's aunt, Mrs. J. Baird. Mounted on another veil of tulle, it was secured with a cap of the same lace as the gown, made in the Dutch bonnet shape, with a stiffened brim. Her flowers were unconventional, being a sheaf of deep crimson roses. The bride was attended by her sister. Miss Babara Baird, and her cousin, Miss Leigh Baird, who wore gowns of apple green angel-skin lace, -with three frills falling from the knees, forming a semi trained effect. Mirror glass clasps at each side of the corsage were the only ornaments. The bridesmaids wore narrow wreaths of pink baby roses, and carried sheaves of pink water lilies. The bridegroom was supported by Lieut. Commander Brame, R.N., as best man, and Commander A. H. Spurgeon, R.A.N.. as groomsman.

Two hundred guests were afterwards entertained at the Queen's Club by the bride's parents, Mrs. Henry Baird receiving In a navy blue floral crepe gown under a navy swagger coat, and hat of navy straw to match. Among those invited were Mrs. John Baird, Mrs. Morrice (Moss Vale), Miss Morrice, Miss V. McLean, Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Weigall, Mrs. H. Weigall. Lady Bavin, Miss Valerie Bavin, Miss Janet Stephen, Miss Nancy Consett Stephen, Miss Thea Milner Stephen, Misses Deborah and Madeline Mackay Sim, Mr. W. M. Macfarlane, Mrs. Mansfield. Mr. John Mansfield, Miss Gordon Kilgour. Misses Phyllis and Patricia Giblin, Mrs. Gerald Campbell, Miss L. Mackellar. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Mort (Leura), Miss Miriam Chisholm (Goulburn), Misses Betty, Margaret and Joy Chisholm, Mrs. Marie Irvine, Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Maple Brown. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Holmes. BECHER—BAIRD (1935, January 27). Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954), p. 5 (Second Section). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58749633 

Humphrey Otto Becher was born on September 13th 1908 at Harvey, Western Australia, son of Francis Joseph Becher, orchardist, and his wife Antonia Amalie (née Vetter) both Australian-born. Entering the Royal Australian Naval College (at Jervis Bay) in 1922, he had a good scholastic record and also won colours for hockey and tennis. In 1926 he served in the light cruisers HMA Ships Adelaide and Brisbane as a Midshipman, before travelling to Britain for further sea-training and professional courses with the Royal Navy.

Returning to Australia in 1930, Lieutenant Becher went to sea in the RAN's heavy cruisers Australia and Canberra before electing to specialise as a Gunnery Officer. In 1932-34 he was based in England where he took the long course at the RN's gunnery school, HMS Excellent. After his marriage on January 7th 1935 to Valerie Chisholm Baird three sons were born to the couple. Following postings to HMAS Cerberus (Westernport), and to HMA Ships Canberra and Stuart, Becher was promoted to Lieutenant Commander on June 16th 1938 and returned to Britain for service on loan with the Royal Navy.

At the outbreak of World War II he was the Squadron Gunnery Officer in the cruiser HMS Devonshire. In May 1940 the ship supported the withdrawal of Allied troops from the Namsos region of Norway: for his performance during this operation Becher was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). He then joined the destroyer HMAS Napier in November 1940 and saw action in the Mediterranean.

On April 26th 1942 he returned to Cerberus as Officer-in-Charge of the Gunnery School. He was then posted in command of the destroyer, HMAS Quickmatch, on March 3rd 1944. For pressing home a successful attack on the Japanese naval base at Sabang, off Sumatra, on July 25th, Becher was awarded a Bar to his DSC. He was also mentioned in dispatches for his service in Quickmatch, and was promoted to Commander on December 31st 1944. 

From 1945 to 1948 he performed staff duties at Navy Office, Melbourne, before returning to sea to help commission the new aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney.

His posting in command of the Sydney shore establishment HMAS Watson was cut short on July 28th 1950 when he hurriedly relieved Captain Alan McNicoll as Commanding Officer of the destroyer, HMAS Warramunga, which was about to sail for active service in Korea. Throughout a busy deployment to Korea, Becher confronted numerous operational problems which included poorly-charted waters, severe weather conditions and a complex command and control arrangement involving senior commanders from Britain and the United States of America. On 5-6 December 1950 Warramunga took part in the hazardous evacuation of Chinnamp'o and her accurate bombardment of Haeju in August 1951 received special praise.

Becher was promoted to Captain on December 31st 1950 and he was also awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and appointed to the Legion of Merit (USA.) for his exploits in Korea. In the period from late 1951 to 1962 he occupied senior staff posts in Navy Office, among them appointments as Deputy Chief of Naval Staff during 1952-54 and 1959-62. He attended the Imperial Defence College, London in 1956, and also commanded the aircraft-carriers, HMAS Vengeance (1954-55) and HMAS Melbourne (1957-58).

Having acted in the rank for twelve months, he was promoted to Rear Admiral on January 7th 1960. Becher was appointed as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1961 and was head of the Australian Joint Services Staff in London during 1962-63. In January 1964 Becher was appointed as the Flag Officer Commanding the Australian Fleet and was serving at sea in Melbourne during its collision with the destroyer HMAS Voyager on February 10th of that year. Then in 1965 he was posted as the Flag officer-in-Charge, East Australia Area. 

He retired from the Royal Australian Navy on March 6th 1966 after 44 years of service. As director-general of recruiting for the armed forces in 1966-69, he opposed conscription, believing that it lowered professional standards.

Popular, personable and an accomplished ship's captain with vast operational experience, as a naval officer Becher displayed dash and occasional flamboyance. In his retirement he refrained from public comment on naval matters, and was chairman of the Council of the Institute of Marine Sciences, University of New South Wales. He enjoyed golf and tennis. Survived by his wife and sons, Rear Admiral Becher passed away in Sydney on June 15th 1977. [5.]

In the 1992 Queens Birthday honours lists Valerie Chisholm Becher of Woollahra was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for 'Service to the community'.

Valerie passed away in 2004.

Bill Wentworth and Barbara Baird did it their way - in Reno:


An engagement of social interest is that of Miss Barbara Baird, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baird of Mona Vale to Mr. William Charles Wentworth junior, elder son of Mr. and Mrs. William Charles Wentworth, of Point Piper.

Miss Baird is at present in America, where she has been spending a holiday for the last few months, and she will be joined by Mr. Wentworth, who left by the Makura yesterday. The marriage will take place in America, and the bride and bridegroom will return to Sydney in August. FOR WOMEN (1935, June 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17183994 


'Within A Week ONE AT RENO

Mr. William Charles Wentworth, Jun., and Mr. George Neville Wentworth announced their engagements in the same week, and have now created something of a record by being married within a few days of each other. They announced their engagements on June 7 and 8 respectively. Mr. George Neville Wentworth was married to Miss Thelma Buckmaster last Tuesday, and Mr. William Charles Wentworth was married on Saturday to Miss Barbara Baird, but the weddings were separated by several thousand miles, as Mr. W. C. Wentworth and Miss Baird were married at Reno, U.S.A. Mrs. Wentworth, Jun., is the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. S. Baird, of Mona Vale, and Mr. Wentworth is the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Wentworth, of Point Piper. Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth, Jun., will return to Sydney about the middle of August. Miss Baird was already in America when the engagement was announced.

photo.-—Dorothy Welding, Mrs. W. C. Wentworth, jun. BROTHERS WED (1935, July 2). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 14 (LATE FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article231284512 

Party at Queen's Club.

To welcome home her son-in-law and daughter, Mr and Mrs Bill Wentworth, who were recently married in America, Mrs Henry Baird gave a late afternoon party in the draw-ing-room of The Queens Club yesterday. The green furnishings of the room were brightened with huge bowls of deep pink stock and a feature of the decorations were the initials of the guests of honour in large gold letters hanging on either side of the mantelpiece On small tables placed about the room were lacquered pumpkins and other vegetables stuck with olives and many tempting


A navy-blue frock of diagonal velour made with a cape of the same material and worn with a matching hat and shoulder spray of white hyacinths was chosen by the hostess who was assisted in receiving the guests by Mrs. W. C. Wentworth, who wore an ensemble of black delustred silk with a black hat and silver fox furs. Mrs. Bill Wentworth was also dressed in black with a small black hat from which fell a veil of stiffened net.

Among those invited were: The Premier and Mrs. B. S. B. Stevens, Sir Kelso and Lady King, Sir Claude and Lady Reading, Sir Thomas and Lady Bavin, Brigadier-General and Mrs. A. T. Anderson, Lady Knox, Mr. Justice and Mrs. C. A. White, Professor and Mrs. Charteris, Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Fairfax, Dr. and Mrs. E. W. Fairfax, Mr. and Mrs. Mackay Sim, Dame Alice Chisholm, Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Willsallen, Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Weigall, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Chisholm, Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Meares, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Inman, Mr. and Mrs. Mac Shannon, Mr. and Mrs. G. C. King, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Hordern, Mr. and Mrs. W. Reilly, Mr. and Mrs. Norman Fitz-Hill, Mr. and Mrs. John Flynn, Mr. and Mrs. H. F. Maxwell, Mr. and Mrs. T. Donkin, Mr. and Mrs. F. de V. Lamb, Captain and Mrs. Michael King, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Macarthur Onslow, Commander and Mrs. Chance, Mr. and Mrs. Horsfield. WELCOME HOME (1935, August 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17206089 


MRS. BILL WENTWORTH (Barbara Baird that was) looked a striking figure at the Queen's Club yesterday afternoon when her parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. S. Baird, gave a reception for herself and her husband. She wore a severely tailored black frock, which she brought back from America with her, and on the shoulder were pinned some lovely white gardenias. Mrs. Baird chose a navy blue frock and cape, and her daughter, Mrs. H. Becher, of Melbourne, who helped to entertain the guests, looked smart in an all-brown ensemble. Among those invited were Brigadier-General and Mrs. Anderson; Sir Kelso and Lady King, Sir Thomas and Lady Bavin, Professor and Mrs. Bland, Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Wentworth, Mr. and Mrs. Neville Danger, Mr. and Mrs. David Maughan, Mr. and Mrs. D. T. Kelly, Lady Knox, Miss Macarthur Onslow, Mesdames Herbert Greene, John Baird, Marie Irvine, Harry Chisholm, F. Macnamara, Dame Alice Chisholm, Misses Nita Onslow, Mary, Diana, and Joan Wentworth, Jennifer Maughan, Nellie Dibbs, Anne Greene, Leigh Baird, and Valerie Bavin. LIFE of SYDNEY (1935, August 24). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article246606997 


The name of William Charles Went-worth, industrious in the early history of New South Wales, is brought to mind by the birth of a daughter to Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Wentworth, jun., at Denholm private hospital, Darling Point, on Monday of last week. The baby is the great-great-grand-daughter of William Charles Wentworth who was born at Norfolk Island in 1790, and who first came before the public in New South Wales when, with Blaxland and Lawson, he crossed the Blue Mountains in 1813. Later he built a home on the Vaucluse estate, which now stands as a monument to his name. His powerful personality was stamped on every political and social institution in the colony. 

The baby's mother was before her marriage, Miss Barbara Baird, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baird, of Corinella, Mona Vale, and her romantic marriage in America last year to Mr Wentworth created much interest in Sydney. 

She visited America alone, intending to tour Canada, the States and Mexico, but her plans were altered by a proposal of marriage by telephone from Australia. Subsequently, Mr. Wentworth took the first outgoing steamer from Australia and joined her in America. 

They were married in Reno to overcome domicile difficulties, obtained a special license and took two assistants from the shop where they purchased their ring to be witnesses at their wed-ding and also to drink their, health afterwards. Their honeymoon was spent in an aerial tour over the States, and the returned to Sydney in August last year. ROMANTIC MARRIAGE RECALLED (1936, April 29). Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19426430

Despite claims Bill Wentworth was part of an ‘Australian colonial aristocracy’ anything but could be seen in his forbears. His namesake, William Charles Wentworth (13 August 1790 – 20 March 1872) Australian explorer, journalist, politician and author, and one of the leading figures of early colonial New South Wales, was shunned by the ‘elite’ of his day.

William Wentworth became one of the wealthiest men in the colony when his father D'Arcy Wentworth died in 1827. However, because his parents had never married, and his mother had been a convict, and his wife was the daughter of two convicts, Francis Cox and Frances Morton, he could not become a member of Sydney's "respectable" class, known as "the exclusives". 

Apparently annoyed by this attitude, he placed himself at the head of the "emancipist" party, which sought equal rights and status for ex-convicts and their descendants. 

He was known as an outspoken and gifted orator and a vitriolic journalist and became the colony's leading political figure of the 1820s and '30s, calling for representative government, the abolition of transportation, freedom of the press and trial by jury. He became a bitter enemy of Governor Ralph Darling and the exclusives, led by the wealthy grazier John Macarthur and his friends. Macarthur's opposition to Wentworth was personal as well as political. Macarthur had broken up the relationship between his daughter Elizabeth and Wentworth, as he would not allow his daughter to marry someone with convict parents. 

Wentworth became Vice-President of the Australian Patriotic Association and founded a newspaper, The Australian, the colony's first privately owned paper, to champion his causes.

Under successive governors of differing opinions, Wentworth continued to exercise great influence. With the abolition of transportation and the establishment of an elected Legislative Council, the dominant issue became the campaign to break the grip of the squatter (pastoral) class over the colony's lands. Wentworth sided with his fellow landowners against the democratic party, who wanted to break up the squatters' runs for small farmers. 


The Council met at the usual hour.
Major WENTWORTH presented a petition, signed by graziers and stockholders resident in Maitland
and its neighbourhood, similar to petitions already presented from other districts of the colony, against the Squatting Regulations recently promulgated. The petition was read and received, and ordered to be printed, and referred to the Land Grievance Committee at present sitting.
Dr. NICHOLSON gave notice that, on Wednesday, the 20th instant, he should move For a return of the outlay incurred on account of the Aboriginal natives belonging to the middle and northern districts of the colony, in blankets or otherwise, during the years 1841, 1842, and 1843, specifying the amount expended in each of the years respectively, and the localities of the several tribes on account of whom such expenditure has been incurred.
Mr. LOWE gave notice that to-morrow, (this day) he should move, That a Select Committee be appointed to enquire into, and report upon the state of education in his colony, and to devise menus of placing the education of youth upon a basis suited to the wants and wishes of the community. …
LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. (1844, June 21). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12421111 

In 1852 he founded the University of Sydney, where his son afterwards founded bursaries in his honour. 

In 1853 Wentworth chaired the committee to draft a new constitution for New South Wales, which was to receive full responsible self-government from Britain. His draft provided for an unelected Legislative Council and an elected Legislative Assembly with high property qualifications for voting and membership. He also suggested the establishment of a colonial peerage drawn from the landowning class. This draft aroused the opposition of the democrats and radicals such as Daniel Deniehy, who ridiculed Wentworth's plans for what he called a "bunyip aristocracy".

Wentworth retired from the Council in 1856 and settled in England, where he founded the "General Association for the Australian Colonies", whose object was to obtain a federal assembly for the whole of Australia. He refused any honours, and was a member of the Conservative Party in the 1860s. He died in England, but at his request, his body was returned to Sydney for burial. He was given the colony's first state funeral on May 6th 1873, a day declared by the governor as a public holiday. 

William 'Bill' Charles Wentworth AO (8 September 1907 – 15 June 2003) was a member of the Liberal Party for most of his career, served in the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1977, representing the seat of Mackellar. He held ministerial office in the governments of John Gorton and William McMahon, serving as Minister for Social Services (1968–1972) and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs (1968–1971). 

Wentworth frequently crossed the floor and served his final months in parliament as an independent.

Wentworth was born in Sydney, the son of a prominent Sydney barrister of the same name, and the great-grandson of William Charles Wentworth. He is sometimes referred to as "William Charles Wentworth IV" but he never used this name himself. His family and friends called him Bill or Billy. The prominent journalist Mungo MacCallum is his nephew.

Wentworth was educated at The Armidale School in Armidale in northern New South Wales, and at New College, Oxford, where he gained an MA, and a Blue in athletics (he was a fine half miler and ran as first string to the future Olympic Champion and world record holder Tom Hampson).

Returning to Australia aged 23, he briefly worked as a factory hand at Lever Brothers in Balmain, Sydney, before becoming Secretary to the Attorney-General of New South Wales, Sir Henry Manning. He then  joined the New South Wales public service as an economic advisor to the Premier's Department and the Treasury, a position from which he resigned in 1937 in protest against what he saw as the state conservative government's timid economic policies. He was an early exponent of Keynesianism and favoured an expansion of state credit. He also advocated for a harbour tunnel during the 1930's, although he wasn't alone in proposing this - in fact another gentleman made a similar suggestion during the rise of events preceding WWII and another had made a similar suggestion in 1885:

Advocated by N.R.M.A. Member
Sydney, Wednesday. 

Addressing the annual meeting of the N.R M-A-, Mr. Charles Ludowici, vice-president, said a traffic tunnel under the harbour could be a refuge from air raids. He added, "You know what is happening in China. It might happen here. "The bridge is becoming over-crowded.''  

Mr. Ludowici also said a tunnel would do the double duty of making the city- fairly safe in time of war, and saving the time and money of road users. HARBOUR TUNNEL (1937, September 29). The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser (NSW : 1856 - 1861; 1863 - 1889; 1891 - 1954), p. 1 (FINAL EDITION). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article193929108


[Descendants of Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth (including politician Billy Wentworth) and St. Mary's residents dedicate the memorial to the 1813 crossing of the Blue Mountains, 1938] / Miss G. Hood, photo courtesy State Library of NSW

From 1941 to 1943 Bill Wentworth served in the Australian Army, although 'defective vision' meant he was relegated to a ''home'' role with Sydney HQ covering Kembla and then moved to the RSL Volunteer forces. :


WAR has brought revolutionary change into life of William Charles Wentworth, great-grandson of that W. C. Wentworth, who helped to establish responsible government in Australia, who founded Sydney University, and built old Vaucluse House.

FROM the busy life of industry which he knew, in connection with development of Port Kembla and big steel works there, Wentworth, Captain in 1st Division, Eastern Command, has developed into one of the most brilliant reconnaissance officers the Australian Army has produced. If his methods are slightly unorthodox, if they show a slight disregard for military red tape, army precedent and what have you, this in no way detracts from the value of his work for the war effort. There is scarcely an inch of N.S.W. coastline which Wentworth does not know backwards and has not studied faithfully. He can tell you the type of country concerned, even to the nth pebble, and on his say-so are decided matters such as new gun emplacements, etc.

He Disappears 

He works quietly, almost secretively. He'll disappear in his car for two or three days, return with areas minutely mapped, every detail included. Old days, when he figured as one of "Tubby" Stevens' Brain Trust, research officer at the Premier's Department, look anaemic now. Even excitement of overnight development of Port Kembla, all on the site of Wentworth family estate on South Coast, seems poor by comparison. War has made "Bill" Wentworth into a thorough, efficient, resourceful soldier. Asked about his job, he would probably tell you that is the most interesting and exciting of any he has tried in the whole of his career of some forty years. Fair, boyish, his English public school accent would deceive strangers into believing he was a proper Johnny. He's far from it. Married to Barbara, eldest daughter of the Henry Bairds, of Mona Vale, he is unfashionable enough to have a large family. Eldest son carries on tradition, and bears the family names of William Charles. W. C. WENTWORTH GOES SOLDIERING (1941, November 29). Smith's Weekly (Sydney, NSW : 1919 - 1950), p. 12. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article234600732

At the 1943 federal election, he stood as an independent for the House of Representatives seat of Wentworth (named after his great-grandfather), arguing for an all-party "national government". He polled 20 per cent of the vote against United Australia Party incumbent Eric Harrison. However, his preferences allowed Harrison to see off a spirited challenge from Labor candidate Jessie Street, an Australian suffragette and a fellow campaigner for Indigenous Australian rights. 

Another perspective on that 1943 campaign:

Woollahra By-Election

FOR the Woollahra by-election the U.A.P. candidates for selection had a battle of the old school tie. The bob-in club cast 960 votes, 30 informal. Of these "pre-selectionists," 631 were women. There are 20,328 voters in the electorate.

Well represented in the ballot was the luncheon-time snooker table of the University Club. It is not revealed whether any of the sixteen aspirants for pre-selection lost their deposits. 

A KEYSTONE comedy touch was imparted to the trial addresses of the candidates before the bob-in club. In vaudeville theatres they used to have something very similar in "trial turns." There was a man with a hook in the wings and, when the audience had indicated that they had had' enough, out would come the hook and drag the un-talented victim out of sight of the house. Eight minutes were allotted each speaker by the bob-ins. One of them lamented the cause of the by-election and paid a rapid tribute to the late member. "I would ask you to stand in silence for five seconds!" he said. Another, with a sheaf of notes, looked at them wildly, spluttered a few syllables, and, then said helplessly, "I'm afraid I've broken down." "What do you think of Darlinghurst as a flat area?" put in a friend, thus proffering assistance. "Now I know something about that subject," the candidate said thankfully. His jaws worked spasmodically and then he said, "I'm afraid I've broken down again!" Another declared himself for slum clearance and he waded into his subject with vim. "But are there any slums in Woollahra?" inquired a bobite. With great enthusiasm, the candidate said there were. He dived into a pocket and shouted: "I've photos here to prove it!" Still another was responsible for putting a really fast one over the Public Service, which he described as "a canker threatening political life."

Brandishing a heavy tome In his hand, he said it contained the regulations made by Public servants in New South Wales last year. Then he held aloft a book (about half the thickness), saying: "These are the statutes made by the Parliament last year." 

As a bait for the Bellevue Hill crowd, another political tyro suggested that a bridge should be built to carry an overhead roadway from College Street beyond King's Cross to the nearer slopes of the fashionable suburb. Questioned as to method of meeting the cost, he said it could be paid for out of the profit from the resumptions, and if there was no profit, the Main Roads Board could take it over. 

As the proud bearer of Australia's most famous political name, "Bill" Wentworth promised to add plenty of entertainment to the contest, but he withdrew at the request of Premier Stevens, but not without striking a blow. "Bill" was introduced modesty in a circular in these terms: — 

"For two generations n o w our greatest political family has taken no active part in Australian politics. Since the death of the original William Charles, the Wentworths have not contested a seat In the Parliament they did so much to found. 

"To-day there is speculation whether tradition will reassert itself, and a Wentworth once more sit as a legislator in Macquarie Street. "The heir and great grandson of Wentworth — another William Charles — is a candidate for U.A.P. nomination in Woollahra. 

That Background! 

"Already he has given a novel twist to the pre-selection campaign. For the first time in history, a pre-selection is 'on the air,' thanks to 'Bill' Wentworth's decision to broadcast his campaign." 

Unfortunately for "Bill," his constitutional background let him down at this stage, because his broadcast proposal was an infringement of the U.A.P. constitution, which says that candidates, after nomination for selection, must not speak publicly except in the presence of the other candidates. 

Who "Bill" is the circular told us: — "For five years, 'Bill' Wentworth has been chief propagandist for the Government, and one of the men behind the scenes at the Treasury. If he does not know how to capture the public imagination, who does? 

"He has been 'in the know' in every political move; he knows just how and why the wheels go round, and now he is ready to play a part himself." 

Referring to the "consternation" caused by "Bill's" nomination, the circular concludes on the same modest note: — "His opponents remember the history of the Wentworths — the originality and powers of leadership they have always displayed. Will history repeat Itself?" 

Unfortunately for "Bill," history did not get a chance, and "Bill" was induced to retreat again behind the scenes at the Treasury. 

Same School Tie 

Mr. J. Beresford Grant, of Barker College, and Jesus College, Cambridge, won the endorsement with 496 votes. He is a barrister and married Barbara Warry, tobacco magnate's daughter, some year ago. He's quite a bright lad and, socially, thoroughly Rose Bay. H. H. Mason. ICC., has announced his candidature. He wears the same school tie (Fort Street) as "Tubby" Stevens, the Premier. He has "arrived" at the Bar and is both sound and brilliant. G. R. W. (Roy) McDonald (formerly M.L.A. and later M.L.C.) is volunteering as an independent. He is anti-"bobite." a critic of emergency relief taxation (extracted each week from pay envelopes), advocates healthy amateur Sunday sport, doesn't think the Spooner surf costume too hot, is up against excessive motor taxation, supports the reduction of members of the Assembly to two seats for each electorate, and is opposed to the killjoys. McDonald is also a barrister. Like Grant, he resides at Bellevue Hill. Darlinghurst is in for some pretty warm wooing when these three candidates get busy. Zane Grey Says Australian Fishing Rods Are Best In World (1937, June 19). Smith's Weekly (Sydney, NSW : 1919 - 1950), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article235893392 

Background stories regarding this election state Premier Stevens wanted to keep Bill working for him. 

In 1945 Bill joined Robert Menzies' new party, the Liberal Party of Australia. The founding years of this party brought a resurgence of interest and energy in speaking about the kind of life Australians wished to lead and how to bring that about. They inspired hope, a sense of autonomy for the individual and promoted that this was a place where, through your own hard work, you can achieve anything you want, which was represented in many ways with the 'owning your own home' ideal - badly needed by a nation still suffering from shortages in materials to actually build their own homes after WWII, coupled with a migrant influx of peoples from war destroyed countries overseas who were, indeed, homeless there and living in tents when they first landed here.

Bill was amongst it, stating:


SYDNEY Sunday: 'The passing of the Bill to nationalise banks without a referendum would be a plain out violation of the spirit of the constitution' said Mr. W. C. Wentworth, speaking at Wentworth Falls during the week-end.

'The constitution is based on the principles that major changes should not be brought about without the very clearest expression of the popular will,' he said. 'Section 58 gave powers to the Governor-General to differ from his ministers and refuse a Bill.

'This power was meant to be exercised when a government exceeded its mandate and tried to pass legislation which the people have not sanctioned.

'In such cases it is the responsibility and duty of the Governor General to refuse the Bill until popular approval had been obtained' he said.,

'The Governor General was the guardian of the constitution.' If the Governor General failed to discharge his duty as the protector of the people under Section 59 the King had the power to disallow the measure, even though the Governor General may have signed it.' MR. WENTWORTH'S CLAIM (1947, October 6). National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW : 1889 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161371993 

At the 1949 election he was elected to the House of Representatives for Mackellar in the northern suburbs of Sydney.

By the late 1940s Wentworth had become a fierce anti-Communist, to an extent that even some in his own party regarded as excessive (though Menzies was more than willing to benefit from his frequent red-baiting): he was frequently accused of McCarthyism in making allegations under parliamentary privilege, usually unsubstantiated, of Communist influence in various quarters of Australian public life. He was a leading member of the "Taiwan lobby" in the Liberal Party, which also included Wilfrid Kent Hughes and the young John Gorton. He frequently sought to imply that the leader of the opposition Australian Labor Party, Dr H. V. Evatt, was a communist sympathiser, or at best a dupe of the communists. The communists, he said, wanted to "ride into power on the back of the Australian Labor Party". Menzies's biographer referred to him as "the notorious Liberal Party backbench red-baiter".

Occasionally his stance saw him thrown out and a tit for tat style of politicking in parliament:

Wentworth Denies Blame For Fire
The Federal Liberal member for Mackellar, Mr. W. C. Wentworth, yesterday disclaimed responsibility for the demonstration fire in French's Forest on Sunday, which later flared up and took two and a half hours to put out.

Mr. Wentworth and fire chiefs attended the demonstration, at which volunteer firefighters from nearby districts were instructed in methods of combating bushfires.
He said yesterday: "I at-tended a meeting at Sorlie on Sunday afternoon to discuss communications and constructive ways in which the Federal Government might be of help in regard to bushfires.
"The proceedings were under the control of the Deputy Fire Officer of New South Wales.
"I had no knowledge that the demonstration fire was going to be lit until I saw people lighting it.
"When I left the flames had been put out. But it was still smouldering. However, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer and local fire wardens were still present when I left to inspect some bushfire telephone requirements about two miles away.
"Since the whole demonstration was under the direction of officers responsible to the Board of Fire Commissioners, which is under the control of the Chief Secretary, Mr. Clive Evatt, it seems somewhat strange that Mr. Evatt should make a statement directed against me."
[Mr. Evatt said on Sunday that he was amazed at a report that Mr. Wentworth had taken part. He would call for a report on the fire, as he considered demonstration fires came under the present general ban.
Mr. Evatt said last night that the chairman of the Bushfires Committee, Mr. H. E. Messer, yesterday began his inquiries into Sunday's fire, and it was probable that prosecutions would be launched against those who lit a fire in the open during a prohibited period.
"I don't care who it was, high or low," he said. "For this ridiculous act they will have to be taught a lesson."
A spokesman for the Board of Fire Commissioners said the board had sent an official report to Mr. Evatt. It had no other comment to make.
Wentworth Denies Blame For Fire (1951, November 20). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18240291 


The four Bills to give effect to increased salaries and allowances for members of Parliament, Ministers and the holders of offices in Parliament, passed all stages in the House of Representatives yesterday without division.

The Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Evatt, said that the Opposition supported the increases and would agree to the passage of the Bills. However, said Dr. Evatt, the system of implementing the increases as recommended by the committee could have been somewhat better.

He said that the only criticism of the proposals, both from the public and the Labour Party, was the question of the so-called tax free allowances. All that was happening in effect was that the basic salary of £1500 was being increased by £250, and the previous allowable deduction for electoral expenses of up to £265 was being increased to a basic rate of £100 with a differentiating rate for various electorates.

'It would have been better to fix the salary at £2150 with slight variations according to the electorates and from that a system of deductions could be applied and the basic allowance for deductions fixed at £400 with the necessary variation," he said.

Instead of being done by an administrative act of the Taxation Commissioner, the question of electoral allowances was being brought into the legislature. This was an indirect way of doing a thing which could be better done by the Commissioner.

That was the only criticism of the four measures and it was perfectly proper criticism. People thought it was perfectly justifiable but, in substance, it was not. The form of the recommendation might not be satisfactory but, in substance, it only meant a rise of £650 to members.

Mr. Ryan (Flinders') said that he would not vote for an increase in the salary and allowances of ministers.

He said, however, that he was in favour of increased remuneration for the Prime Minister, private members and suitable retiring allowances' for the Prime Minister.

He said that before voting for the measures, two points should be considered strong factual reasons for the increases and the psychological reasons for voting against them.

"It seems that the psychological reasons outweigh the factual reasons, and, therefore, it is most unfortunate that we should be forced to bring in at this time these measures and, in the case of the measure providing for Ministers'' salaries, it is more than unfortunate," he said.

"While I realise the responsibilities and duties that fall to Ministers, they are somewhat above the bread line on which a lot of private members are now living

"For that reason, I think there might be some toning down of the proposed salaries and allowances to Ministers except for the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, because the allowances for them are not in the least generous. I am not able to support the bill for the Ministers increases."

Mr. Wentworth (Mackellar) said while he supported the four bills there should be some alteration to the present Cabinet system. Ministers were overworked because they were forced to attend to too much detailed work and could not devote sufficient time to policy matters.

He said that it might be feasible to introduce a system somewhat on the British lines of having a larger number of Ministers and Under-Secretaries, but an inner Cabinet of 10 on 12 members who reached major policy decisions.

Main reasons for the over-working of Ministers were the increased scope of government in the last, 10 years and the growing ‘'politicalisation" of the public service. Because of that, the political views of senior civil Servants were likely to colour and affect departmental policy, and, consequently, the amount of supervision a Minister had to give to his department had increased.

There should be a smaller Inner-Cabinet with a large number of junior Ministers and Under-secretaries and at least two Ministers without portfolio. Also, there should be one Minister with no other responsibility than the business of the Parliament.

The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt) said Parliament had never abused the right the Constitution gave it to adjust the salaries of its members. Unfortunately, in the eyes of the public, the politicians' position in Australia was low because of the manner in which the Press had presented all moves for salary increases. Mr. Holt said that members had had no salary increases since 1917 since when tradesmen's average weekly earnings had more than doubled and the basic wage had increased by 50 per cent. In many cases, the increases to members would not cover their expenses and they would be at a disadvantage against their previous positions. Tax-free allowances already operated in most State Parliaments.

Mr'. Drummond (New England) urged reorganisation of duties so members could get more rest between sittings. He said that 32 years ago, when he entered the N.S.W. Parliament, he voted against the bill to increase parliamentary salaries but had been careful not to do so again. The present increases were fair and reasonable recommendations of an independent impartial tribunal, but the Press never lost an opportunity of using sensational headlines against Parliament.

Mr. Drummond said that before tax-free allowances, members had to pay their own travelling and other expenses themselves, and then pay tax on them while businessmen in private industry received tax-free expenses. Mr. Drummond said that while Mr. Colin Clark, Queensland economist, had been attacking parliamentary salary increases, he himself had been receiving tax-free allowances.

Mr. Gullet (Henty) said that no one could maintain a reasonable standard of living without beating the Taxation Commissioner, and members had honestly acknowledged this. Almost all people in commerce and industry lived by the swindle sheet, and members had now placed themselves in the same category. Un-less some taxation relief was given to those other than parliamentarians as well, we could not expect the production effort we urgently needed.

Mr. Osborne supported Mr. Wentworth on the need for re-construction of the Cabinet system. There was a widespread belief that to-day Governments could come and go, but departments lived on forever.

In committee, the former Speaker, Mr. Rosevear (Dalley) suggested that the present Speaker (Mr. Cameron) has given an increased allowance for entertainment.,

Mr. Rosevear said the Speaker's salary was approximately equal to, those of the senior Ministers, yet Ministers regard entertainment allowance of £1,000, while the Speaker only received £250. Mr. Rosevear said he had been Speaker for approximately eight years, and could speak from experience. The Speaker was required to spend money entertaining not only his own friends, but ministerial friends, and friends from his own electorate who visited the House.

When he was Speaker, he managed, by representations to the Taxation Commissioner, to get an allowance of £150 per' line sum for entertainment - about one quarter of what was actually necessary.

In reply, the Prime Minister, Mr. Menzies, said that the matter was considered by the Government when considering the Nicholas Report. Many Government members, including himself, thought the Speaker had not been adequately dealt with. The Government, however, had decided that nothing could be done as the bill had gone before the committee. Mr. Menzies said that although Ministers received an allowance of £1,000, there would be taken from them all allowances in Canberra whether the House was sitting or not.

Ministers would lose sums which, they now received and which were estimated between £400 and £800. The net benefit to Ministers therefore would be something between £200 and £600. Mr. Menzies moved an amendment correcting what He described as "an obvious error." The bill allowed the Government Whip £325 extra and other party whips £275. Apparently, in the Nicholas Report, it was assumed that all whips were to receive £275.

Major construction, duplication of certain lines and the provision of improved facilities for the shipment of coal are well under way.

The report adds that the closest collaboration has been maintained with the B.H.P. company to ensure the utmost possible supply of Australian steel.

There has also been close contact between the Commission and the Agent-General in London, Mr. J. M. Tully, in regard to steel from overseas... SALARIES BILL PASSED WITHOUT DIVISION (1952, February 29). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2849686 

Wentworth to fight ejection

Canberra, Sat. Liberal member for Mackellar, W. C. Wentworth, will challenge a ruling which led to his being ordered from the House of Representatives yesterday. His action is expected to initiate an important debate on privilege. Mr. Wentworth was ordered from the House by Acting-Speaker John McLeay (Liberal, SA). The privilege debate is expected to bring objections to Speaker Archie Cameron's own rulings. Mr. McLeay's ruling yesterday was based on precedent set by Speaker Cameron over the past year. 

Party support 

Mr. Wentworth believes the ruling is a dangerous restriction on a member's right of free parliamentary expression, He will be supported by other Liberal and Country Party members. Mr. Wentworth refused "except in deference to the Chair" to withdraw a statement that the Labor Party was acting as "a protective screen around the Communist Party." Wentworth to fight ejection (1952, October 26). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 56. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article230998429

Bill aims at Comms.

CANBERRA: Instant dismissal from the Commonwealth Public Service of all known Communists is authorised in a Private Members' Bill which has been prepared by the Liberal Member for Mackellar (N.S.W.) in the House of Representatives (Mr. W. C. Wentworth). Known as the Protection Against Communism Bill of 1953, the measure is designed to afford protection against the operations of Communists and Communist organisations. Mr. Wentworth's Bill has found favour among Government members. It is expected that it will be considered by a joint meeting of the Liberal and Country Parties before the end of the present session, when a decision will be made by the Government either for or against sponsoring it in the Federal Parliament.

Under the Bill the Government may call on any member of the Commonwealth Public Service to sign a declaration that he or she is not a member of the Communist Party. In addition such officers can be asked to give an undertaking to reveal all the information in their possession about Communists and Communism and then-previous associations with the Communist Party. 

Refusal to sign these declarations can result, in immediate dismissal. Such dismissal, shall be deemed to be dismissal for gross misconduct and the officer concerned shall forfeit all moneys and rights due to him or her as a member of the Government service, including all rights in any superannuation fund and all rights to any refund of contributions to any superannuation fund; and all rights to any accumulated leave. 

Penalties ranging from imprisonment for three months and a fine of £50, to imprisonment for five years and a fine of £500, are provided in cases where a person makes a false declaration. Bill aims at Comms. (1953, March 17). Brisbane Telegraph (Qld. : 1948 - 1954), p. 10 (CITY FINAL). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article217251388 

And again:

Mr. Wentworth Suspended

Liberal backbencher. Mr. Wentworth (Mackellar), voiced his long-held opinion yesterday that the Opposition in the House of Representatives was defending Communism, and left the Chamber rather than back down.

When told by the chairman of Committees, Mr. Bowden, that he was suspended under Rule 303, Mr. Wentworth bowed smartly to the chair and strode from the Chamber.

Under standing orders he was suspended for the sitting day for refusing to withdraw a remark which another member considered offensive.

The incident occurred during the debate in the committee stages of the highly controversial Stevedoring Industry Bill.

The Opposition Whip, Mr. Duthie (Lab., Wilmot) had claimed that murder could be committed in Australia to-day in the cause of anti-Communism.

He described attacks on the Waterside Workers' Union and Communism as sheer hysteria and unrational panic.

Mr. Duthie said the W.W.F. continued to elect Mr. Healy as their Federal secretary' because he was a good all-round leader, despite his politics. 


When Mr. Duthie resumed his seat, Mr. Wentworth, who followed, claimed he had listened with "interest to Mr. Duthie defending Communism."

Mr. Duthie objected to the reference and asked the chairman to order a withdrawal.

Mr. Bowden: The hon. gentleman has made a statement which is considered offensive and I ask him to withdraw.

Mr. Wentworth: I am afraid I am unable to do so.

Mr.-Bowden: Then I must take the only action left open to me.

Mr. Wentworth: I cannot withdraw as I feel it is relevant. I cannot feel your ruling is correct and, if you make that decision, I shall move dissent from ruling.

Mr. Bowden. There is no case of your moving dissent. I ask you to withdraw.

Mr. Wentworth: I am unable to withdraw my statement regarding the way in which the Labour Party in this House is serving the real interests of the Communist Party.

Mr. Bowden: The honorable member has refused to withdraw, then I invite him to withdraw from the chamber under Rule 303;

Second Time

Later, outside the House, Mr. Wentworth said this was only the second occasion on which he had been ordered out of the House. The previous time being on exactly the same grounds.

"Oh that occasion, I was ordered out after I had refused to withdraw what I meant of the involvement between the Labour and Communist Parties.

"In the case to-day, I believe that anybody reading between the lines of Mr. Duthie's speech will see it gives aid and comfort to the communist Party.

"This is a political fact of the highest significance, which, in my view, a member of the House is entitled to draw to the attention of the House.

"It was in no sense a personal attack on Mr. Duthie, but an attack on the political implications of the speech he made." said Mr. Wentworth. Mr. Wentworth Suspended (1956, June 9). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138125920  

Bill Wentworth was more than a one-issue politician, and had great energy and ability. As Gorton's biographer wrote: 

"For all his erratic and sometimes bizarre behaviour, his flaws were at least those of an inventive mind". 

Despite this, he had a long wait for ministerial preferment, mainly because he was a party-room rebel on other matters, such as pensions. 

Amendment To Taxation Bill Defeated

An Opposition amendment seeking a more equitable distribution of the 5 per cent cut in personal taxation was defeated in the House of Representatives last night.

Voting on strict party lines, the Government defeated the amendment, which was moved by Mr. Crean (Lab., Melbourne Ports), by 56 to 36 votes.

The House, which was debating the Income Tax and Social Service Assessment Bill, also defeated an amendment moved by a Government member, Mr. Wentworth (Lib., Mackellar).

Mr. Wentworth had moved ‘that donations to the Commonwealth Literary Fund be accepted as deductions for income taxation purposes’. This amendment was defeated on the voices.

Opposition members, in supporting their amendment, claimed that the bill in its existing form favoured people in the higher income brackets. Amendment To Taxation Bill Defeated (1959, October 22). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 21. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article103104796 

The Commonwealth Literary Fund (CLF) was an Australian Government initiative founded in 1908 to assist needy Australian writers and their families – the family of Louis Becke, for instance, after he passed away and prior to his daughters being able to earn their own living. The Commonwealth Literary Fund (CLF) was established by Alfred Deakin in 1908 to provide financial assistance to struggling authors. It was run by a central committee. From 1939, the CLF was administered by a parliamentary committee chaired by Robert Menzies as Prime Minister and including representatives of the Liberal Party, the Country Party and the Australian Labor Party. The old central committee continued as an advisory board. The role of the CLF expanded to include offering annual fellowships and publication subsidies.

During these years Bill Wentworth busied himself with parliamentary committee work. He was an active member of the Foreign Affairs Committee from 1952 to 1961. 

From 1956 he was chair of the Government Members Committee on Rail Gauge Standardisation. He made important recommendations on solving one of Australia's longest-standing infrastructure problems, the incompatible rail gauges in the different states, a legacy of colonial times. Gough Whitlam, no admirer of Wentworth in all other respects, credits him with being one of the architects of the rail standardisation agreement that led to the opening of the single-gauge rail line from Melbourne to Sydney. 

Unfortunately, perhaps due to his outspoken qualities, which apparently put him at odds with Menzies and relegated him to a backbench position for decades, he was not invited to the official opening of this in April 1962 as he had to be completing work. Anecdotal records state as the VIPs made their way to Central Station to board the Southern Aurora, Barbara, in full-skirted, satin-bowed evening gown, walked up and down the platform brandishing a sandwich board asking: "WHERE'S WENTWORTH?" After Parliament rose, and with the cheers of his fellow members still ringing in his ears, he finally boarded the Aurora in Goulburn at 2am.

Bill being excluded, by his own party and after all that work, had been preceded by:


Mr. Costa (Lab., Banks), suggested that the N.S.W. Liberal Member, Mr. W. C Wentworth, was improperly elected and should be disqualified.

He questioned Mr. Holt about payment for £750 worth of telegrams Mr. Wentworth sent to candidates at the elections.

The telegrams quoted an open letter signed by 32 prominent Australians and asked the candidates to declare their attitude to nuclear warfare and the testing of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Costa described the telegrams as "election propaganda." :

If the cost of the telegrams was met by Mr. Wentworth, a section of the Commonwealth Electoral Act which limited election spending by each member to £250 might have been contravened.

Mr. Costa asked if Mr. Wentworth's action amounted to misconduct and meant that he was improperly elected and should be disqualified.

Mr. Holt said he had no knowledge of the financial arrangement and Mr. Costa should take up the matter with Mr. Wentworth.

He added any action that would deprive the Parliament of the services of Mr. Wentworth would not be in the best interests of the Australian Community. Parliamentary Summary AUSTRALIA KEEPING ARMED FORCES CONTROL, SAYS P.M. (1962, February 23). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 10. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article104924303 

Govt. Ranks Survive First Test Of Power

The Government defeated the Opposition's "no confidence" motion in the House of Representatives last night by one vote.

The motion, which had delayed all other business since introduced last Tuesday, was defeated by 60 votes to 59.

Full Strength

The Speaker, Sir John McLeay, was not needed to give a casting vote.

The packed House waited in a tense atmosphere for the result of the first challenge to the Government in the new Parliament.

Both the Government and the Opposition mustered their full strength for the vote.


The only members who did not vote were the Minister for Trade, Mr. McEwen, who left last Sunday for trade talks overseas, and the Victorian Labour member, Mr Bird.

Mr. McEwen and Mr. Bird are paired not to vote while either is absent.

Earlier yesterday, Mr. Bird, who has been ill, made his first appearance at Canberra since being re-elected to the House of Representatives last December.

He flew to Canberra and was sworn in as an elected member when Parliament met yesterday afternoon.

He was in the chamber most of the day but left the members seats when the vote was taken.

The Minister for Labour and National Service, Mr. McMahon, temporarily broke the tense atmosphere when he was with the Opposition members, while the bells were sounding for the division.

Mr. McMahon walked through the door on the Government side of the chamber and found himself with Opposition members who had crossed sides to vote in favour of the amendment.


As he walked down the aisle to join his colleagues who had crossed to the Opposition side, some Opposition members tugged at him and tried to hold him on their side.

Mr. McMahon shrugged free and amid roars of laughter joined the Government members.

Earlier, Government member, Mr. Wentworth (Lib, MackeIIar) criticised Government plans to reduce unemployment and revitalise the economy.

Mr. Wentworth’s critical speech was in defiance of an instruction of the Prime Minister, Mr. Menzies, that back-benchers should not do anything to embarrass the Government while the House was narrowly divided.


It also brought out into the open the conflict between Mr. Wentworth and Mr. Menzies over a general business motion on aid for disabled people moved by Mr. Wentworth when the House first met.

Mr. Wentworth was reported to have come under criticism for having acted without first consulting his party.

Immediately the vote was over, the Government resumed Government business.

The Treasurer, Mr. Holt, introduced bills to authorise the five per cent rebate on personal income tax this financial year.  …. OPPOSITION CENSURE MOTION DEFEATED Govt. Ranks Survive First Test Of Power (1962, March 7). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article104925382 

Parliamentary Summary
Quantitative Imports Control "Like Cancer"

Quantitative import restrictions could "spread like a cancer through the body of Australia's trading arrangements," a Government backbencher told the House of Representatives yesterday.
The backbencher, Mr. Malcolm Fraser (Lib., Wannon) appealed to the Government to do nothing of a permanent nature without a full and open inquiry Into Tariff Board inquiries, practices and procedures.
"If we do not have an inquiry, I fear that the use of quantitative restrictions will spread like a cancer through I the body of our trading arrangements, with consequent great harm to this country," he said.
Mr. Fraser was speaking in the debate on the Tariff Board Bill, which establishes an independent authority to recommend short-term tariffs and quantitative restriction? I where necessary to protect local industry.
His attack followed earlier sharp criticism by Mr. Kelly (Lib., Wakefield) and a milder criticism by Mr. Anthony (CP., Richmond).
Mr. Fraser said he was opposed to the permanent use of quantitative restrictions.
"In spite of provision for only temporary restrictions in the legislation, we have been told they will become permanent," he said.
The Minister for Labour and National Service, Mr. McMahon, said the Government would have a look at the Tariff Board Act as a 'whole in the next few weeks I to see if any long-term changes were necessary.
He did not believe that any practical man could object to what the Government was doing.
The Prime Minister, Mr. Menzies, told the House on Wednesday night that a long-term measure to give the Tariff Board wider powers over quantitative restrictions would be introduced in the. Budget session of parliament. 

Mr. Menzies said the Minister for Trade, Mr. McEwen was expected to return to! Australia before Easter. He anticipated that Mr. McEwen would make a statement on his overseas negotiations to the House of Representatives.
Mr. Menzies told Mr. Wentworth (Lib., Mackellar) that Australia and New Zealand were in close consultation on the possible effects of Britain's entry into the European Common Market.
Mr. Wentworth had asked what steps the Government had taken to confer with New Zealand on the common interest of Australia and New Zealand.
Mr. Menzies said the Government recognised the interests it had in common with New Zealand on the market issue and had maintained contacts with New Zealand at both Ministerial and other levels. 

The Postmaster-General, Mr. Davidson, said five television stations could be accommodated in the Metropolitan areas of the larger States on the present VHF band.
He was replying in writing to Mr. Ward (Lab., East Sydney).
He said room for 13 television channels on the VHF band existed in each State. Five of these would be used by Metropolitan television in the larger States.
Three channels were being used in each of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Mr. Davidson said six or 'seven additional stations I could be accommodated in the ultra-high frequency band, depending on requirements in that band for future broadcasting services.
Television sets tuned for very high frequency band transmission could be converted to the UHF band for about £25, plus aerial alterations.

Red Votes
The Minister for the Interior, Mr. Freeth, said arguments that the Government owed its existence to the Communist Farty were childish.
He was replying to Mr. Grayndler who asked if the Minister's attention had been drawn to the attack by Mr. Snedden (Lib., Bruce) on the industrial activities of the Communist Party.
Mr. Daly asked if Mr. Killan (Lib., Moreton) and the Government owed their return to power to the preferences of the Communist Party.
He asked if the Liberal Party attacks on the Communist Party would damage the relationship between the parties and result in the loss of Communist preferences at
the next elections. 
Mr. Freeth said the argument was childish because some members of the Opposition owed their election to Communist Party preferences.
"No one understands how the Communists vote or why they vote," he said.

Mr. Wentworth said excuses made by the Postmaster-General, for. the P.M.G. Department's failure to honour its undertaking to restore Sydney's G.P.O, clock tower were "just humbug and hypocrisy."
He accused the Government and Mr. Davidson of having broken faith with the people pf N.S.W. by not having restored the clock.
Mr. Wentworth was speaking in the grievance day debate.
He said members from N.S.W. should see the Government carried out its undertaking, even though they perhaps did not have as much influence in the Government as Victorian members.
When the clock tower was removed in 1942, a pledge was given that it would be restored in due course.
This re-erection had not taken place in spite of assurances to the contrary.
All the Postmaster-Generals over the years had said the clock would be restored as soon as practicable.

"The excuse, and I say is humbug, has been put forward by the Postmaster-General, that it cannot be done while more urgent works have to be completed," Mr. Wentworth said.

The Government could spend £2,400,000 on an ornamental fake in Canberra, but would not provide £150, 000 in Sydney, the centre city in the Commonwealth, to restore a trust to the people of N.S.W. which the Commonwealth had violated.
Sydney should get the same treatment as Canberra, which Members from N.S.W. had always supported.
Mr. Turnbull (CP., Mallee) replying on behalf of the postmaster general, said the P.M.G. Department had had to defer eight major works.
The department had to undertake many things before the restoration of the Sydney G.P.O. clock.
Phones in the outback and other services were needed, and Mr. Wentworth's remarks about "humbug and hypocrisy" were not appreciated "in this quarter of the house," he added. '
Parliamentary Summary (1962, April 6). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 10. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article104303610 

The Bill excluded report:


The Opposition Leader, Mr. Calwell, has reversed an earlier decision and accepted an invitation to travel on the special train to inaugurate the first nasseneer service on the Svdney-Melbourne standard eauee railway. The train will leave Sydney to-night.

The Prime Minister, Mr. Menzies, many N.S.W., Victorian and Commonwealth Government representatives and high ranking railway officials will travel on the train.

Mr. Calwell announced his decision yesterday after the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party meeting.

He also announced that the Opposition would grant a "pair" to the Minister for Shipping and Transport, Mr. Opperman, to enable him to attend the opening ceremonies.

Mr. Opperman would be "paired" with Mr. E. J. Harrison (Lab., Blaxland), who also would attend the function. Mr. Harrison is Federal President of the Locomotive Engine Drivers Union.

However, the Opposition refused a pair to Mr. Wentworth (Lib., MacKellar), who was chairman of the Government committee which recommended the Sydney-Melbourne standard gauge link.

Earlier, Mr. Calwell had refused the invitation to attend the inaugural ceremonies, claiming that Parliamentary attendance took precedence over official functions.

He also indicated that any request for pairs for Government members to attend almost certainly would be refused.

Mr. Calwell said yesterday he had been told that Mr. Menzies intended to be it the opening functions and to travel on the special train.

Because of this and the part the previous Labour administration had played in rail standardisation, the Caucus executive felt he should attend. CALWELL TO ATTEND RAIL LINK CEREMONY (1962, April 12). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 12. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article104304199

There are echoes of what the first Wentworth to serve as a politician went through in the clash between Wentworth and Menzies. 

Bill Wentworth's other long-term interest was in Aboriginal affairs. This may have stemmed from the trips to the bush he and Barbara took from the first years of their marriage and which persisted throughout their life together. His war record states his occupation then was 'Estate Manager' - the Wentworth estate that would be, but there was also an estate inherited by the Baird girls.

In 1959, he put forth a proposal to Cabinet for the establishment of an Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, arguing for a more comprehensive approach by the government to recording Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures. That institute was established by an Act of Parliament in 1964 and is now known as the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. 

He was also one of the Liberal backbenchers who supported a constitutional referendum to give the Commonwealth the power to legislate specifically for the benefit of indigenous Australians, something which was finally achieved under Menzies' successor Harold Holt in 1967. 

Wentworth MHR wants a better deal for Aborigines

Mr Wentworth (Lib, NSW) will introduce a private member's Bill in Parliament this week to give the Commonwealth greater powers over aboriginal welfare.

He foreshadowed the move last night during debate on the Constitution Alteration (Repeal of Section 127) Bill, which provides for a referendum to include Aborigines in the censusThe House adopted the Government’s legislation without dissent.

The Speaker, Sir John McLeay, declared the Bill passed by an absolute majority of 108 votes to nil.

Two parts to legislation

The Leader of the Opposition, Mr Calwell, said he did not think a single Australian worthy of the name would intentionally vote against the proposal to count Aborigines in a census. The proposal recognised Aborigines for what they are—Australian citizens.

Mr Wentworth said the Government's proposals "could be improved by going a little further".

His Bill would be In two parts. The first would seek to delete from the Constitution Commonwealth powers to make special laws for specific races.

He would seek also, the insertion of the following alter Section 117 of the Constitution: 

"Neither the Commonwealth nor any State shall make or maintain any law which subjects any person who has been born or naturalised within the Commonwealth of Australia to any discrimination or disability within the Commonwealth by reason of his racial origin.

"Provided that this section shall not operate so as to preclude the making of laws for the special benefit of the aboriginal natives of the Commonwealth of Australia."

If his Bill were passed before March 28 next its proposals could be included in the referendum to be held on May 28. Adequate time would be given for the proposals to be discussed outside Parliament.

He would bring the Bill before the House in the hope that public opinion would, be sufficient to induce the Government to allow its passage before March 28, he said.

Mr Bryant (Vic.), Mr Beazley (WA) and Dr Cairns (Vic.), the Labor MPs who spoke after Mr Wentworth, supported his proposals. MHR wants a better deal for Aborigines (1965, November 24). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article105874485 

"We are unique in ignoring any entitlement of Aborigines to land. In the words of Colin Simpson, 'We took the lot—the whole 2,974,581 square miles; the whole 1,903,731,840 Australian acres.' Whisper it softly, this was not done in Rhodesia or South Africa. Recently, certain Red Indian tribes had compensation for the transgression of tribal land rights in the United States. Constitutional guarantees may not touch these problems but may produce a new climate of opinion when needs would be met. Mr Wentworth at least proposes powers to meet needs."— So writes Mr K. E. Beazley in this article.

Mr Wentworth and the Aborigines
By K. E. BEAZLEY, MP, chairman of the Labor Party's Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, and a member of the Select Committees on Aboriginal Voting Rights and on the Grievances of Yirrkala Aboriginal People.

THE Commonwealth Government's prosaic Bill "to alter the Constitution so that Aborigines are to be counted in reckoning the population" has provoked attempted amendments, and possibly a private Member's Bill, drafted by Mr Wentworth, MP, Liberal Member for Mackellar NSW.

The Commonwealth Government in the referendum which deals with the census confines itself to proposing the deletion of Section 127 of the Constitution. Section 127 reads:

"In reckoning the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth, or of a State or other part of the Commonwealth, aboriginal natives shall not be counted."

Mr Wentworth's proposals are more far-reaching. He proposes the deletion from the Constitution of paragraph 26 of Section 51, and substituting other words. Section 51, paragraph 26 reads:

The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:—

(xxvi) The people of any race, other than the aboriginal race in any State, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws.

The words Mr Wentworth proposes to delete are those after (XXVI), and he wishes to insert a new (XXVI) to read:

The advancement of the aboriginal natives of the Commonwealth of Australia.

This is not all. The nearest approach to a guarantee of human rights in the Australian Constitution — and it is a very poor guarantee — is in section 117:

‘A subject of the Queen, resident in any State, shall not be subject in any other State to any disability or discrimination which would not be equally applicable to him if he were a subject of the Queen resident in such other State.’

To this Mr Wentworth proposes the add the words—

‘Neither the Commonwealth nor any State shall make or maintain any law which subjects any person who has been born or naturalised within the Commonwealth of Australia to any discrimination or disability within the Common-wealth by reason of his racial origin.’

Provided that this section shall not operate so as to preclude the making of laws for the special benefit of the aboriginal natives of the Common-wealth of Australia. ||

If Mr Wentworth succeeds in getting his proposals debated and voted upon, it will be the second time in history that any attempt has been made to amend the Constitution in relation to Aborigines on any issue of real importance to the Aborigines. The first time was in the Referendum on Powers in 1944.

[The addendum Mr Wentworth proposes to Section 117 would make unconstitutional the present Queensland legislation which excludes full-blooded Aborigines from voting at State elections. They can vote at Commonwealth elections under legislation passed by the Commonwealth Parliament in 1962.]

It would also probably render invalid all the Queensland legislation and regulations which control the movement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (who constitutionally count as "aboriginal natives").

If the power were granted by the electors to the Commonwealth to make laws for "the advancement of the aboriginal natives of the Commonwealth of Australia", the Commonwealth Parliament would have a power concurrent with that of the States to deal with aboriginal affairs. In practice the Commonwealth, with the power of the purse, almost certainly would have the initiative over the States to make laws for their health, education, welfare and status, but not, probably, to confer on them any rights of land anywhere other than where it has the power now — in Commonwealth territories.

Section 127 reads like an insult to the aboriginal people, serves no useful purpose, and its deletion has possible beneficial psychological effects, but no practical ones apart from the census.

Its deletion docs not lead to any clash of interest in the Australian community, nor does it bring the Common-wealth into collision with State powers, nor does is cost the Commonwealth a penny. Aborigines will notice no difference, except that the most sophisticated will be aware that what appears to be a subtle insult to them has been withdrawn.

When I was in India in 1954 I became aware of the fact that Communist women from Australia had said in India that our Constitution declares that Aborigines are not people. The words can, with hostile intent, be construed that way: 

"In reckoning the numbers of the people . . . aboriginal natives shall not be counted." But research into the origins of the section does not support the argument that there was any such de-humanising intention. It is clear that what was in the mind of the framers was the effect of aboriginal numbers on the quotas of seats allotted to each State and on the costs of federation chargeable to a State.

The physical difficulty of carrying out a census of Aborigines under the transport conditions of 1897 also was probably in mind. In certain States the numbers of Aborigines were estimated and in others only those in con-tact with Europeans were counted. In Queensland they were not counted at all.

Aboriginal males had had the vote in South Australia since 1859 (35 years before European women in South Australia gained it), and by the time of the Constitutional Convention some hundreds were on the South Australian rolls. When the Convention met in Adelaide, Dr Cockburn, of the South Australian delegation, questioned the provision that Aborigines should not be counted. The Hansard of the Convention reads:

Dr Cockburn: As a general principle I think this is quite right. But in this colony (i.e. South Australia) there are a number of natives who are on the rolls and they ought not to be debarred from voting.

Mr Deakin: This only determines the number of your representatives and the aboriginal population is too small to affect that in the least degree.

Mr Barton: It is only for the purpose of determining the quota.

Dr Cockburn: Is that perfectly clear? Even then, as a matter of principle they ought not to be deducted.

Mr O'Connor: The amendment you have carried already preserves their votes.

Dr Cockburn: I think these natives ought to be preserved as component parts in the reckoning up of the people. I can point out one place where 100 or 200 of these Aborigines vote.

Mr Deakin: Well, it will take 26,000 to affect one vote. (sic. entitlement to one seat?)

Mr Walker: I would point out to Dr Cockburn that one point in connection with this matter is, that when we come to divide the expenses of the Federal government per capita if he leaves out those Aborigines South Australia will have so much less to pay, while if they were counted South Australia will have so much more to pay.

On that lofty note the section went into the Constitution. The "preservation of their votes" to which O'Connor referred, is a consequence of Section 41 of the Constitution which provides that where an elector has an entitlement to a State vote he may not be debarred from the Commonwealth franchise. Hence Aborigines entitled to vote in South Australia could vote for, the Commonwealth electorate, and their exclusion from the census did not affect this.

The motives which went into the framing words Mr Wentworth proposes to delete are more complex:

The people of any race, other than the aboriginal race in any State, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws.

The framers of the Constitution wanted the Commonwealth to have power over race questions in part because they seemed to believe this to be a necessary adjunct to the immigration power, and in part because they desired the Commonwealth to have power to repatriate from Queensland the Pacific Islands labourers (Kanakas). The debate hardly concentrated at all on Aborigines.

In 1891, when New Zealand was represented at the Convention because it would possibly join the Federation, the words read:

"The affairs of people of any race with respect to whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws not applicable to the general community; but so this power shall not extend to authorise legislation with respect to the aboriginal native race in Australia and the Maori race in New Zealand."

Sir George Grey, the New Zealand representative, had in his time invalidated claims to 26 million acres of Maori land, had as Governor of South Australia shown a genuine care for Aborigines, and it may be that the race power was conceived as draconian and the qualification that it should not apply to Aborigines and Maoris as protective, but the section was debated from the point of view of races other than indigines so it is hard to tell.

Sir John Forrest was certainly protective:

"I cannot for the life of me see why we should desire to give the Federal Parliament control of any person, whatever may be his nationality or colour, who is living in a State."

The section was, however, for many years interpreted as depriving Aborigines of the right to Social Service payments. In recent years it has been considered officially that it would be "a special law" outside Commonwealth power if Aborigines were deprived of anything, but not a "special law" if they were included in benefits applicable to the general community.

Sir Robert Menzies holds that the section guarantees against discrimination. This leaves some problems elusive. Awards in the Northern Territory discriminate against Aborigines by allotting them lower wages, and the Commonwealth itself, quite generally, pays them lower wages.

Mr Wentworth's addendum to Section 117 probably would prevent this as it would bind the Commonwealth in its Territories. For years the section 51, paragraph 26 deprived Aborigines of rights.

This is held to have been a mistake, but the new interpretation guarantees them nothing in the Territories and the Commonwealth, unless something like Mr Wentworth's new section 1, paragraph 26 is inserted in the Constitution has no direct power for Aborigines in the States.

A lot of breath is wasted on these words and Mr Wentworth's proposals have something new to say on both. "Discrimination is not synonymous with hostile discrimination". We pass special legislation to benefit wounded ex-servicemen in the way of repatriation benefits, which are not applicable to the general community.

If Aborigines have special needs — and they have — Mr Wentworth is endeavouring to ensure that the Commonwealth can pass special legislation to discriminate for them and meet these special needs

His addendum to Section 117 revives one of the most interesting struggles of the Federal conventions.

The Australian Constitution contains no concept of citizenship. The expressions it uses are "Subjects of the Queen"; "People of the Commonwealth"; People of a State. It does not attempt to define citizenship rights and does not even guarantee entitlement to the franchise, except that holders of a State franchise may not be deprived of the Commonwealth franchise.

The House of Assembly of Tasmania suggested certain concepts based upon the XIVth Amendment of the United States Constitution — a post-Civil War Amendment which guarantees State and Federal citizenship to persons born in the United States, but this and Dr Quick's efforts to define citizenship and to give the power to legislate for citizenship were rejected.

Mr Wentworth's addendum to section 117 does not guarantee citizen rights in the sense that the XIVth Amendment does, but would prevent "any discrimination or dis-ability . . . by reason of . . . racial origin" if a person had been born or naturalised within the Commonwealth of Australia.

Mr Wentworth might find State Governments, jealous of their power, campaigning against his referendum if it were submitted. Nevertheless, it has a consistency about it.

We are applying sanctions to Rhodesia because, fundamentally, they will not satisfactorily guarantee in their Constitution the status of native peoples.

Heaven knows, 187 years of Australian history show that Australia's native peoples have been without guarantees and have suffered accordingly. We are unique in ignoring any entitlement of Aborigines to land.

In the words of Colin Simpson, "We took the lot, the whole 2,974,581 square miles; the whole 1,903,731,840 Australian acres". Whisper it softly, this was not done in Rhodesia or South Africa.

Recently, certain Red Indian tribes had compensation for the transgression of tribal land rights in the United States.

Constitutional guarantees may not touch these problems but may produce a new climate of opinion when needs would be met, Mr Wentworth at least proposes powers to meet needs.

"The difficulty of his proposals is that they demand thinking, information and perhaps intelligent compassion in the electorate. The late Archie Cameron, when Speaker, once said to me:

"A referendum is an appeal from those who know, or who ought to know, to those who don't know and don't want to find out."

Perhaps a referendum on Mr Wentworth's lines would be a major educational campaign. Mr Wentworth and the Aborigines (1965, November 26). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article105874942 

Kim Edward Beazley AO was an Australian politician who served as a member of the House of Representatives from 1945 to 1977, representing the Labor Party. He was Minister for Education in the Whitlam Government from 1972 to 1975.

Further, and closer to the 1967 Referendum:

Wentworth's Rights Bill To Go On
By A Political Correspondent

NSW Liberal MP Mr W. C. Wentworth intends to push ahead with his private Member's Bill on aboriginal rights in Australia, despite Cabinet's decision to postpone the constitutional referendum.

The Federal Government had planned to hold a two-part referendum next May - one section seeking approval to set aside the constitutional provision that the number of Members of the House of Representatives should be about twice the number of Senators, the other seeking approval to delete the constitutional provision that Aborigines shall not be counted in a Census.

Mr Wentworth told Parliament last year that while the Government was seeking changes in the Constitution it should attempt to remove all sections which discriminated against Aborigines.

He failed to persuade the Government to change its mind, however, and moved a private members' Bill to alter the terms of the referendum.

Wants change in Section 51

His Bill seeks to change one paragraph in Section 51 of the Constitution and to add a new section to the Constitution.

Section 51 at present gives the Commonwealth to make laws for "the people of any race, other than the aboriginal race in any State, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws."

Mr Wentworth wants this changed to give the Commonwealth power lo make laws for "the advancement of the aboriginal natives of the Commonwealth of Australia."

The additional section he proposes for the Constitution says:

"Neither the Commonwealth nor any State shall make or maintain any law which subjects any person who has been born or naturalised within the Commonwealth of Australia to any discrimination or disability by reason of his racial origin;

"Provided that this section shall not operate so as to preclude the making of laws for the special benefit of the aboriginal natives of the Commonwealth of Australia."

'Wide extent of support'

Mr Wentworth said last night he still would try to have his Bill debated by Parliament as soon as possible, but he would not want, to "push it to finality."

A referendum must be held within six months of the passing of an Act of Parliament for a constitutional change to be effective, but the Government has indicated that it will not hold a referendum until after the next election.

It would achieve nothing if the Bill was agreed to by Parliament but no subsequent referendum was held.

Mr Wentworth wants his Bill debated to indicate to the Government the wide extent of support for it among Government members. Ideally he would like the Government to take over the legislation.

He admits that the Government might not agree fully with all his suggestions but he says his aim is to achieve something worthwhile for the Aborigines.

His Bill had now been supported by all churches in Australia, and by an extensive range of community groups, he said. Wentworth's rights Bill to go on (1966, February 23). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article105888206 

When Mr. Wentworth's friend John Gorton succeeded Holt, he made Wentworth Minister for Social Services and Minister in Charge of Aboriginal Affairs, the first Minister to hold this office.

As Minister, Wentworth was disappointed that the Cabinet was reluctant to take any steps to pass the kind of far-reaching legislation he wanted, mainly due to the resistance of pastoral interests represented by the Country Party. Nevertheless, Wentworth took the first practical step towards the granting of indigenous land rights when he proposed giving the Gurindji people control of their land at Wave Hill station in the Northern Territory (which was at that time under Commonwealth control). This plan was denounced as "communist inspired" by the Cattle Producers Council (a reference to the fact that the Communist writer Frank Hardy was an adviser to the Gurindji).

He must have had a chuckle over the 'communist inspired' reference.

He was also now in a position to forward some of his other ideas for Australia's indigenous peoples:

Aborigine grants Bill

The Minister in Charge of Aboriginal Affairs, Mr Wentworth, introduced legislation for grants of $5.4 million to the States for Aboriginal housing, education, health, employment and vocational training.

This amount Includes $410,000 for special projects in the States, inspired by the Commonwealth.

Of the total amount, NSW will get $1.1 million, Victoria $347,000, Queensland $2 million, South Australia $535,000, Western Australia $1.2 million and Tasmania $39,000.

Mr Wentworth said the Government sought to create conditions under which Aborigines could be helped to develop dignity, a command over their own activities, a full opportunity for their aptitudes and a place in the nation's counsels equal to that of any other Australian.

"Our aim is to restore Aboriginal initiatives and independence in both the social and economic sense" he said. Aborigine grants Bill (1969, September 12). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article107891956 

Bill Wentworth was already 60 when he became a minister, but his lifelong energetic and innovative approach to everything was intact. When William McMahon succeeded Gorton as Prime Minister in March 1971, he retained Bill in the ministry despite dropping Gorton's other proteges. 

Bill Wentworth contested the Liberal deputy leadership at this time, but was eliminated on the first ballot, with the position going to Billy Snedden, whom Bill regarded as a light-weight. When the McMahon government was defeated by Labor under Whitlam in December 1972, he returned to the backbench.

Snedden succeeded McMahon as leader, but Bill Wentworth was among his most persistent party-room critics. In March 1975 it was Wentworth who moved the motion in the Liberal Party room to depose Snedden from the leadership in favour of Malcolm Fraser. However, under Mr. Fraser's government he soon found himself back in his old role of the backbench rebel. His lifelong commitment to Keynesianism led him to criticise Fraser's cuts to government spending as deflationary. Having already announced his intention of retiring from Parliament at the next election, he resigned from the Liberal Party on October 11th 1977, citing the government's handling of the economy and industrial relations. He stood for the Senate in New South Wales at the December 1977 election, polling 2.1 per cent of the vote. Later he was active in the Grey Power movement, and stood again for the Senate as a Grey Power candidate at the 1984 election but again did badly.

During his time in the House of Representatives, Wentworth voted against his party more often than any other Representative in Australian history. He was proficient at it.

In 1993, he was appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours for "service to the Australian Parliament, particularly in relation to Aboriginal rights and to the standardisation of inter-state rail gauges".

Bill Wentworth's last appearance in Australian politics was in April 1995, when he again contested the by-election in the seat of Wentworth caused by the resignation of Dr John Hewson. In the absence of a Labor candidate, he polled 18 per cent of the vote, 52 years after he first contested the seat in 1943. 

The Wentworths had moved to Newport in 1960, to a ramshackle fibro cottage on the water at Prince Alfred Parade set in almost three hectares of gum trees. The brilliant Australian Women's Weekly, as ever ready to celebrate great women and their men, provides a pre building of a new home on this block insight and one afterwards - there are more photos than placed here in these articles, accessible via their links:

As his wife says: "Everybody likes a battler"
interview with THE WENTWORTHS

The new Minister for Social Services and Aboriginal Affairs is happy at his chance to "get things done."

"I WILL say one thing, Bill, being a back-bencher for so long didn't sour you."

William Charles Wentworth, fourth of that name, scion of a long line of Australian pioneers, put down his coffee cup and laughed across the table at his wife.

"I was too busy trying to get things done to become soured," he told her.

Morning coffee with the Wentworths at their home at Newport is a stimulating hour. Conversation races, leaping from subject to subject, unconventional, full of humor, and the enjoyment of living.

In the background the phone rings incessantly-this morning answered by the smiling Spanish housekeeper, who "is so terribly tidy and we are such an untidy family that we can never find anything," while Lucifer, a large, yellow-crested, six month old cockatoo, waddled round the wooden floor vainly trying to reach the leaves of the indoor plants.

The Wentworths are far more interested in you than in talking about themselves.

"One's own life story always seems to sound so dreadfully dull," Mrs. Wentworth told me. "I am sure your life is much more interesting!"

Described as one of the most controversial men in post-war Federal Parliaments, Mr. Wentworth had just been named Minister for Social Services and Aboriginal Affairs after 18 and half years on the backbench.

THE WENTWORTHS in the driveway of their home at Newport, a rambling house and beautiful leafy garden' perched above Pittwater

I had read all I could about the great-grandson of the explorer who crossed the Blue Mountains with Blaxland and Lawson.

He was described as a maverick, a patrician, unconventional, an Australian nationalist, "dotty, though brilliant," "with misshapen teeth," "wearing glasses that look as though they have been sketched on his face."

I found a benign, sandy-haired, easy-to-meet man with shrewd, humorous eyes, who made no protest when sent by his wife to put on a tie "so that you will look properly dressed for the photographs."

No, he didn't mind being called "dotty" but he did object to the misshapen teeth. "Look, are quite well shaped, are they not?"

On the question of his new role in Parliament, he smiled and said, "You know, being promoted to the Ministry from the back-benches is rather like getting married. You hope it will be worthwhile."

He preferred to talk about the possums that come at night to feed on the red blossoms of one of the many trees dotting the large garden, the kookaburras and the koalas who arrive at the kitchen each day to be fed.

The garden, he said, had been tiered down to the waterfront by stone walls, mostly put in by himself "to keep my weight down."

"Bill found this house eight years ago," said Barbara Wentworth, pouring coffee and offering a plate of her homemade short-bread. "It was built for the sort of life we lead.

Hordes of friends

"We couldn't live in a house that can't be "lived in.'

"We always have hordes of friends in over the week-ends when the whole atmosphere is completely informal.

"When Bill was young he had to make an appointments two weeks ahead to ask his friends home. Here two seconds is enough. We both enjoy people."

Barbara Wentworth, feminine, sincere, and attractive, bubbles over with vitality and humor. There is warmth in the teasing affection that so openly lies between her and her husband.

"Politics," she told me, "is really the most fascinating life for a wife. Oh, yes, it keeps me busy, very busy, but I am never harassed that would defeat the whole purpose of a happy life, wouldn’t it?

"No, my life is full, my interests are varied and all so terribly interesting. The one change will be that my life will become a split second one -but that doesn't worry me one bit.

"For instance, recently in Canberra when I was having breakfast in bed at the hotel, Bill said, 'Get ready, you have two minutes to catch a plane to Melbourne for the Lionel Rose reception.'

"And what a reception it was! Young Rose is a delightful young man. I loved his brothers and sisters. I asked one little boy what his name was and he drew himself up proudly and said, 'I am Lionel Rose's brother.'"

Wife's role

"Oh, no, I have never been the slightest bit interested in a political career for myself. I feel help enough by being on hand when Bill needs me.

"The thing I enjoy most about being a politician's wife is being round my husband's electorate and getting to know the people in it.

"I thoroughly enjoy making speeches-not political ones, I don't think that is quite the wife's role. Mine are about our travels.

"But like most of us, it took me a while before I got used to speaking.

"My first speech was to the annual meeting of the Girl Guides' Association. When I got up to face the microphone I found I had lift my notes under the tea urn and I couldn't remember a thing.

It was terrible. I had to stand there and wait until someone went over and retrieved them. Since then, unless there is something frightfully technical that I have to get correct, I speak off the cuff."

Mr. Wentworth's new role in Parliament will mean a rearrangement of their regular trips to little-known parts of Australia.

For both are keen "explorers,' especially of Central Australia. They think nothing of spending weeks at a time driving, and sleeping under the stars, with a blanket between them on the ground.

New Guinea is another of their favourite places. It was only a few years ago that they climbed the 15,000ft. M!; Wilhelm.

Our trip this year was to be along the Canning route in Western Australia - it's rather like the Birdsville Track and it runs south from Fitzroy Crossing. But I'm afraid that will be out now."

WILLIAM CHARLES WENTWORTH with Lucifer, the gold-crested cockatoo. Kookaburras and koalas are regular callers at the kitchen door.

Mr. Wentworth was hesitant in discussing the immediate future of his two portfolios other than to say, "Read what I have said in the past about them."

He left his chair to search the house for a magazine which contained an article he had written called ''A Problem in Reconstruction."

One paragraph caught my eye: "The first requisite of a successful policy for Aborigines is to restore their self-confidence and sense of importance; to re-create at least in part the system of authority which we destroyed; to involve them as soon as possible and to the greatest possible extent in the decisions about their own welfare and their own way of living."

Mr. Wentworth's long-time concern for the welfare of the Aborigines is well known. It was he who single-handedly launched the Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

On the subject of the widow's pension he said that he regarded children as the most important part of social service "and children of widows definitely come into that."

At the moment, he said, he was awaiting more specific instructions from the Prime Minister.

"I have already started conferences with other Ministers, for, obviously, anything I do must be a combined operation.

"There is a tremendous amount of work ahead of me. Rewarding, challenging work, but time is going to be the killer, especially with the Aboriginal problem.

"I inherited a machine with the Social Services portfolio, because Ian Sinclair is a good man and the mechanics of that department are in good running order.

"But the Aboriginal Welfare portfolio is another matter.

"To date there has been no Federal policy on Aborigines except in the Territory, and a new machine has to be created.

"I won't be able to start anything until after the House rises. Then I intend getting right into it. It is not a problem that can be solved overnight. But it is a start-and that IS important.

"Barbara is going to be a big help by taking over some of the routine work involved attending ceremonies and that sort of thing."

His wife interrupted, "I'm going down to Hobart next week to open an old folks' home. I am looking forward to that tremendously. I love going to new places, meeting new people.

"Where did Bill and I meet? At a party at the Royal Sydney Golf Club one night. We both admitted later that neither of us was very impressed.''

Reno marriage

"However, we kept meeting, and we sort of got to know one another.

"Yes, we were married in Reno. I was holidaying in America, and Bill, with a month's holiday from being secretary to Sir Henry Manning, the Opposition Leader of the N.S.W. Upper House, flew over to marry me.

"In San Francisco we found we had to wait two weeks to establish residence before we could be married. So down we went to Reno, where the law is more elastic It was rather good fun being married in a place known as the world's largest divorce centre.

"You should have seen us! Bill was in grey flannel bags and a blazer, I in a crumpled pink dress. We went into a jeweller's to buy the ring, and the man there found us a couple of witnesses.

"Then off we went to the judge, went through the ceremony, and celebrated afterwards by drinking a magnum of champagne with the witnesses. They were two awfully nice men."

The Wentworths have three boys and two girls, who avoid the limelight.

Jane, 31, is working as a bookkeeper on a Cooma property; William, 29, an economist, married to a Ceylonese girl, is living in Woollahra; John, 19, is doing chemical engineering at the University of N.S.W.; Georgina is married and living in London; Hamilton, 27, is a mining engineer working at a copper mine in South Australia.

Mrs. Wentworth laughed. "We pulled young John into a photograph for a Melbourne paper the other day and, after it was over, he told us we had completely ruined his life.

"And Hamilton sent his father a telegram of congratulations after the Cabinet posting was announced, concluding with 'suggest you place yourself on the basic wage.'

"We can never seem to get them together at the same time.

"I did take a picture of them some years ago when Georgina gave a party. It was a flashlight picture and not very good, but then my pictures never are, though I do enjoy taking them."

It was eleven o'clock and time for Mr. Wentworth to leave to catch a plane to Canberra.

A fond farewell kiss for his wife with the promise to ring when he knew the time of his return home, a cheerio to Lucifer, who screeched from his corner, and he picked up his briefcase and went out to his car.

"Bill wouldn't tell you himself, but he is really so happy about this promotion," said Barbara Wentworth. "And, now, he will be really able to help people, to put into action the things he believes in.

"I think the thing that made me happiest about the promotion was the fact that everybody really seemed pleased. Not only our friends but strangers. The day it was announced the phone didn't stop ringing for one minute.

"But then I think every-body likes a battler, don't you? And Bill has always been that." As his wife says: "Everybody likes a battler" (1968, March 20). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46076683 

The next states they have built a house, a bigger house:

A private house with a public life



The day we went to see Barbara Wentworth at her house in Newport, NSW, she had just been up in a balloon. She had risen at 4.30 am to don a crash helmet and a T-shirt promoting one of her favourite charities before taking the balloon ride at dawn.

A few days before, Barbara and her husband Billy - known to others as Mr W. C. Wentworth, former member of parliament - had both walked 16km to raise money for the Autistic Children's Association

This hectic lifestyle of politics and voluntary work has influenced the planning and use of the Wentworths' spacious sandstock brick and timber house overlooking Pittwater, north of Sydney. There are large entertaining areas inside and out for the many private and public parties they host, and a completely self-contained flat within the house where they can withdraw for peace and privacy.

The modern two-storey house of 56 squares is set in a huge garden - part formal, part natural bush with added native plants.

Completed two years ago, the house was built over and around the fibro bungalow where the Wentworths lived for many years.

"It all started because I wanted a modern kitchen," Barbara said. "Billy is responsible for all the rest, it was his idea and he designed it.

"The building took three years to finish, and wore out several architects. The first one left because he said the kind of thing we had in mind would not enhance his reputation.

"Now we've got this big house we use it to the full," she said. "Any group which wants to have a party here, can."

The Wentworths' antique furniture, collected since their marriage, looks quite at home in its new setting.

Downstairs the house is carpeted in apple green wool, a successful contrast to the warm tonings of timber-lined walls and sandstock bricks.

In the dining room, floral chintz curtains pick up the green of the carpet. A portrait of a Wentworth ancestor, Darcy, in British army regimental uniform looks down on the mahogany dining table and chairs.

ABOVE: Barbara Wentworth in the dining room of her house. On the wall is the portrait of Darcy Wentworth.

The large rambling kitchen which winds around a corner from the dining room to the reception room has every feature a serious cook could wish for.

Upstairs are the Wentworths' own private apartments with a small but fully equipped kitchen, a sitting room opening on to a timber deck, bedrooms, a study, bathroom and a sleepout - a wire screened deck, level with the tops of the trees, which Bill and Barbara use for about six months of the year.

The main bedroom has a huge cedar bed covered by a colourful patchwork bedspread. Curtains are apricot-coloured velveteen.

The bathroom, designed by Bill, is big and luxurious. The separate shower and bath are placed in the middle of the room and a vanity basin and dressing table run the length of one wall.

The upstairs sitting room is furnished with many fine antiques, including the oldest piece of furniture in the house, a 1710 mahogany desk made in the Dutch style. The room has comfortable arm-chairs and settees and there's a dining setting for four near the kitchen.

A separate entrance to the room gives the upstairs complete separation from the rest of the house. CU

ABOVE: The dining room in green and white has a table and chairs of mahogany with tapestry-work seats.

BELOW AND RIGHT: Exterior views of the house and garden which look out across Pittwater to Scotland Island.

ABOVE RIGHT: The large kitchen is equipped with everything a cook could wish for.

BELOW: The main bedroom has a huge cedar bed with a patchwork bedspread. A private house with a public life (1978, September 27). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 108. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51594323 

The Wentworths had a lifelong love affair with each other. Although they reportedly had some good 'debates' they stuck by each other and stuck up for each other - possibly Barbara more for Bill than he would have needed to do for her; her panache, as related in the evening gown dance with the 'WHERE's BILL?' rail opening incident serves as a good case in point.

Mark McGinness' Tribute in the Sydney Morning Herald in the March 1st 2005 edition after she passed away, 'Exceptional wife of a singular man' states:

''Barbara threw herself into the life of a politician's wife. She hosted the first parliamentary wives' function in Canberra. She regularly regaled audiences with hilarious lectures and slides of her travels with Bill, raising money for the party or for charity. A Guide since her schooldays, she was the state commissioner for eight years. She held huge parties at home for the local branch, particularly for the young - sometimes cooking all night. She would be out sometimes five nights a week and would then work on a weekend fete.

Barbara wore lightly the dynastic aspects of her husband's family. He may have been born W. C. Wentworth IV, but for Barbara, he was and always would be, first. She was his muse, his champion, his soul mate. He loved her dash and her sense of fun. She also had a spiritual quality; a quiet faith that gave her strength.''

They retired to north Queensland, from where Bill continued to write pamphlets and newspaper articles.

When Valerie Lawson interviewed 90-year-old Barbara at home in the far north, she confessed, "I don't like Sydney much. People are my main interest and how are you, dear?"

When he reached his 90th year Bill Wentworth went to the World Bank about the greenhouse emissions problem. He submitted to James Wolfensohn, the bank president, that if greenhouse put the planet in danger this also imposed on the bank the greatest responsibility it had ever faced.

He believed greenhouse gas impacts was the most important issue of our time. Instead of wasting its time on futile and divisive arguments about restricting emissions, he said, the bank should be devoting its main attention to facilitating the production of emission-free energy sources. 

''No restrictions, however drastic, could keep global emissions within acceptable bounds. A better way must be found. And the World Bank's charter required it to play a major role.''

Back on Australian soil, he joined forces with Dick Smith in the 'Buy Australian' initiative, stating foreign takeovers meant that Australians were losing control of their own destiny. 

"Australian industry is rotten with foreign investment," he said. The reason the economy looked good was that the country was being sold off, bit by bit. No one wanted to stop foreign trade but the accounts must be balanced.

Bill sold the Newport home to Dick Smith in 1986 just prior to their move north. He onsold it a year and a half later and then developer Fred Johnston sold it in smaller allotments. The daughter of Sir Russell Drysdale, Lynne Clarke, sold her 2000 square metre holding in the mid-1990. Australian model/entrepreneur Jennifer Hawkins and husband and builder Jake Wall bought the home, redeveloped again, and sold in 2019.

Barbara suffered a serious stroke in the late 1990s. The Wentworths returned to Sydney and Bill joined Barbara in a nursing home at Gordon. He continued to expound on public issues, but much of his time was spent with Barbara, the woman who had devoted her life to him. He was determined that "Piggo", as he called her, should still enjoy life and ensured friends and food were part of their lives until he passed away  in June 2003. His Service was held at Newport's St. Michaels' - the family church.

They were survived by their three sons, William, D'Arcy and John and a daughter, Georgina (their elder daughter, Jane, predeceased both her parents). 

The annual conference at the NSW Young Liberals, meeting at Newport yesterday, decided: To ask the NSW Government to increase apprenticeship in takes by 5,000 over five years. Rejected calls for the Federal Government to build a transit camp for 50,000 Indo-Chinese refugees in Australia. McMahon, 71, fighting for another term (1979, August 5). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110572515 

The Division of Mackellar has had only four Members so far; Bill Wentworth, Jim Carlton, Bronwyn Bishop and current MP Jason Falinski. All have been or still are a little bit feisty, outspoken, articulate, eloquent and prepared to work 24/7 in their chosen career of Service to their community.

However, it was Bill Wentworth who led the charge.  

His stance and persistence won real change for Australians. Being prepared to speak up and be honest about what is self-evident and needs to be realised harks back to the original premises of the party he was a member of for so long. Rights for our indigenous peoples, calling for action on what is now called a 'climate change crisis' in a way that will abate that problem, fixing problems in industry that will increase output and returns, staring down elitist exclusionary practices were part and parcel of the man.

These qualities also resonated throughout the lives of the Baird girls and their families, and would be part of what Australia has, still, in his and Barbara's children and grandchildren.

The Reverend Peter Clark, of St Michael's Anglican Church, Newport said Mr Wentworth had requested his Memorial Service be held in the small church at Newport rather than in a cathedral. His son William Wentworth said, however, that his father had not requested so much as instructed. The Service was attended by politicians Tom Hughes, Gough Whitlam, Sir Robert Cotton, Les Johnson and Peter Baume, and activists Faith Bandler, John Valder, Professor Mick Dodson and Ainslie Gotto. He crossed all divides as much as he crossed the floor or spoke out in parliament.

Speaking of his father's courage and self-confidence, his son William Wentworth said: "It was almost impossible to humiliate him and he could even endure extended periods of ridicule."

Bill Wentworth, MP for Mackellar for 28 years, the first Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and a lifelong campaigner, knew no one can really diminish those who are advocating for what clearly needs to be changed to change - no threats, no amount of belittling can deter you. He was not so much a man ahead of his time as much as one who was firmly in his time, who continually stated 'the time has come for this to become what it should be'.

Carpe diem! - Seize the day!

References and Extra Notes

  1. TROVE  - National Library of Australia
  2.  "'Certain lands at Manly Beach and elsewhere' Katherine Wentworth and the Bassett Darley estates.." The Free Library. 2005 Royal Australian Historical Society 28 Sep. 2021 https://www.thefreelibrary.com/%27Certain+lands+at+Manly+Beach+and+elsewhere%27+Katherine+Wentworth+and...-a0140053901
  3. Ashton, Clare F, Karitane, Dictionary of Sydney, 2011, http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/karitane
  4. D. T. Merrett, 'Syme, Sir Colin York (1903–1986)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/syme-sir-colin-york-14874/text26063, published first in hardcopy 2012
  5. Tom Frame, 'Becher, Otto Humphrey (1908–1977)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/becher-otto-humphrey-9465/text16649, published first in hardcopy 1993

Trustee of the Estate of the late Henri Michel Marie de Possel-Deydler.

FRONTING PITTWATER-ROAD. a short distance south of the junction of the Newport and Bayview roads, being part of Lot 1. Section A. Collingwood Estate. TORRENS
SUBDIVISION BLOCK, of 8 ACRES 1 ROOD 29 1/2 PERCHES, having FRONTAGES to PITT-WATER-ROAD and BASSETT-STREET, being Lots 16. l8, and 19, Section 4. TORRENS.
WATER-FRONTAGE SITES TO PITTWATER. - well sheltered deep-water anchorage.
THREE SPLENDID ALLOTMENTS (adjoining the Winji-Jimmi Point Estate)
, each having a frontage of 54 feet to REDNAL-STREET (oil Mona-street), by depths of from 215ft to 252ft, EXTENDING THROUGH TO PITTWATER, to which the frontages are from 54ft 91n to 56ft OMn. TORRENS.
These are three fine sites, with a north-easterly aspect, with a very gentle slope to the water, being Lots 26. 27. and 28, D.P. 7953.
FOUR GOOD WEEK-END HOME SITES, each having a frontage of about 50 feet to BELLE VARDE-PARADE, off Pittwater-road, by depths of from 133ft 5ln to 186ft 101in. being Lots 28 to 31. D.P. 8212. Torrens.
TERMS: 20 p.c. Deposit, Balance in 12 equal quarterly instalments, interest at 5 p.c., payable quarterly.
MESSRS. TRAILL and SLADE, Solicitors to the Estate.
RICHARDSON and WRENCH, LTD., in conjunction with ROBEY, HANSON, and STRONG, LTD., will submit the above for Sale by PUBLIC AUCTION, at the Rooms. 92 PITT-STREET, on FRIDAY, 27th SEPTEMBER, at 11 a.m._(565)
Advertising (1935, September 21). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 26. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17190391

Henri Michel Marie de POSSEL-DEYDIER
Born December 4,1854 - La Ciotat, 13600, Bouches-du-Rhône, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
Married about 1883, Sydney,(AUSTRALIA), to Hélène GERBER ca 1860- with two children:
M Armand de POSSEL-DEYDIER 1884-
M Georges André de POSSEL-DEYDIER 1888-1904

Changing the Australian Constitution

In 1967, after 10 years of campaigning, a referendum was held to change the Australian Constitution. Two negative references to Aboriginal Australians were removed, giving the Commonwealth the power to legislate for them as a group. This change was seen by many as a recognition of Aboriginal people as full Australian citizens.

On 27 May 1967 over 90 per cent of the Australian electorate did vote YES on the Aboriginal question. On the other question put, concerning the relationship between the number of senators and the number of lower house members, the voters said NO to the proposed change.

The size of the YES vote was vitally important. During the 10 years of the campaign many laws had changed: discriminatory clauses had been removed from Commonwealth laws, and by 1967 Aboriginal people living in all states but Western Australia and Queensland no longer had their civil rights as Australian citizens curtailed by state laws.

The huge YES vote would make it difficult for the government to ignore its new power.

Petitions were an effective way of mobilising support for Indigenous civil rights, and were used throughout the period leading up to the 1967 Referendum. The Aboriginal-Australian Fellowship ran a petition campaign in 1957 which was launched at a huge meeting in the Sydney Town Hall on 29 April that year.

This petition was the brainchild of Jessie Street, who had drawn it up with Brian Fitzpatrick of the Council for Civil Liberties and lawyer Christian Jollie-Smith.

Jessie Street persuaded Faith Bandler, Pearl Gibbs and other members of the Aboriginal-Australian Fellowship that the Town Hall meeting they had arranged to draw attention to Aboriginal disadvantage was the perfect place to launch the petition.

The petition began by drawing attention to the fact that the ‘Aboriginal Residents of Australia suffer under disabilities, political, social and economic’ and argued that the situation could not be remedied ‘without Amendment of the Constitution’. The first of these petitions was presented to the House of Representatives by Labor MHR Leslie Haylen on May 14th 1957.

The next year a petition by the newly formed Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement was framed in similar language, although it was more carefully worded. It was signed by more than 25,000 people in three months and tabled in the House of Representatives by Gordon Bryant on September 17th 1958.

Further petition forms were tabled by other Labor Party members later in the month.

Both petitions called for the amendment of section 51 (xxvi) and the repeal of section 127 of Australia’s Constitution, which required a national referendum.

Why focus on the Constitution?

The only references to Aboriginal Australians in the Australian Constitution were negative. Section 51 (xxvi) stated that:

The Parliament shall, subject to the Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to the people of any race other than the aboriginal race in any State, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws.

Campaigners wanted the phrase ‘other than the aboriginal race’ to be deleted so that the Commonwealth could pass special laws to assist Aboriginal Australians as a people.

The second reference was section 127 which held that:

In reckoning the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth, or of a State or other part of the Commonwealth, aboriginal natives shall not be counted.

They wanted this section to be repealed, arguing that it was an affront for Aboriginal Australians to be specifically excluded by the Constitution.

Section 109 of the Constitution was also relevant to the issue. It read:

When a law of a State is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be invalid.

Reformers believed that if the Commonwealth had the power to pass special legislation to assist Aboriginal Australians and used this power, state laws (such as those operating in Queensland) could be challenged under section 109.


On the 3rd inst., by the Rev. Irvine Hetherington M. H. Baird, Esq., Mount Bute, Victoria, to Mary, youngest daughter of John Logan, Esq., Claremont-street, Edinburgh. Family Notices (1860, February 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5676594

BAIRD.—On the 20th inst., at South Yarra, Mrs. M. H. Baird of a son. Family Notices (1867, May 25). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946), p. 28. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138053996

M H Baird and MM Baird Children born:
1861: Isbla Hannah Hamilton
1862: Alice Mary
1863: John Hamilton
1865: Logan
1867: Charles William
1869: Henry Stewart Hamilton
1870: Blanche Eva
1872: Matthew Alexander

Headstone in Linton Cemetery reads:

Sacred To The Memory Of Alice Mary aged 10 months Second Daughter of M.H. And Mary M Baird
Logan aged 9 years Second Son
Charles William aged 25 years Third son, 
Matthew Hamilton Baird aged 80 years Late Of Mount Bute Died 3rd Sept 1899
Mary Margaret Baird aged 76 years Died 2nd April 1910

BAIRD—MOLLOY.— On the 15th June, at Edrom, Malvern, by the Rev. S. Robinson, D.D., John Hamilton Baird, Koorong, Bombala, New South Wales, eldest son of Matthew Hamilton Baird, Corinella, St. Kilda, to Jeannie, only daughter of the late Dr. W. T. Molloy, Hawthorn. Family Notices (1898, June 17). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article9838483 

Dame Alice Isabel Chisholm DBE (née Morphy; 3 July 1856 – 30 May 1954), known familiarly as "Mother Chisholm", provided canteen services for soldiers in Egypt and Palestine during World War I.

Alice was born at Reevesdale near Goulburn, New South Wales to Major Richard John Morphy, pastoralist of Grena Mummell, Goulburn, and his wife Mary Emma (née Styles). She was raised by maternal grandparents, after her mother died of measles while her father was away serving in the Indian Army. She was educated at home. In 1877, she married pastoralist William Alexander Chisholm, a widower (died 1902); and they had three sons and two daughters, two of whom predeceased their mother.

Sources state Alice Chisholm's son Trooper Bertram of the 6th Light Horse Regiment was studying architecture in England and returned to Australia in 1914. A year later he was seriously wounded at Gallipoli and transferred to the First Australian General Hospital at Heliopolis near Cairo. By the middle of that year, the hospitals were overcrowded with beds spilling out onto the entrance portico and pathways. There was a desperate lack of facilities and the nursing staff were extremely overworked. Alice went with her daughter Dorothy to Egypt to be near him and offer her services to the Red Cross.

Alice noticed the lack of facilities for the troops and established a canteen in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis largely at her own expense. She opened a second canteen in Egypt at Port Said, and a third in Kantara for troops fighting near the Suez Canal with two other women, Miss Rout from New Zealand and  Miss Rania McPhillamy.

The Kantara canteen expanded to include dormitories and dining-rooms and eventually had the capacity for handling thousands of men. Profits from the canteens were used to provide the troops with comforts for their journey home.

Alice Chisholm (left) and daughter Dorothy outside Kantara Canteen for Naval and Military in Egypt, c.1916. Kantara Canteen was established by Alice Chisholm for the benefit of Australian, New Zealand and British soldiers on leave from active service in Egypt. The sign reads “Empire Club for Naval And Military”. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Alice was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1918 and promoted to Dame Commander (DBE) in the 1920 civilian war honours. After her return to Australia she continued working within the community, helping found the Returned and Services League of Australia in Goulburn and was also active in the Country Women's Association and RSPCA.


Children of the union: 3 sons, 2 daughters




by Joan Pilgrim

HAD Australia not gone to war in 1914 it is doubtful if the world would ever have heard of Alice Chisholm. Yet it sometimes happens, in the lives of great men and women, that events shape their destinies and open for them a page on which history is written.

It certainly never occurred to Major Richard Morphy and his wife Mary, herself the daughter of one of Australia's pioneers, that their daughter Alice, born in the remote isolation of Braidwood way back in 1856, would one day play such a part in the writing of an illustrious page in Australia's history as a nation, that she would be created Dame of the British Empire, a signal honor that has only ever been bestowed by the King on a handful of Australian women.'

Nor did it seem likely, after her marriage to William Alexander, second of the seven sons of James Chisholm of "Kippilaw," pioneer pastoralist of the Goulburn district, that the quiet and ordered life of a country gentlewoman would ever offer much scope for out-standing achievement.

DAME ALICE CHISHOLM, photographed in the garden of her home at Castle Hill, near Sydney, just before her death earlier this year.

MRS. CHISHOLM in her rooms at the canteen in Kantara, November, 1918. Her voluntary work for Australian soldiers earned her a unique place in Australia's World War I history. 

TROOPS LINED UP at the store and restaurant attached to Mrs. Chisholm's canteen in Kantara, on the Suez Canal, during World War I. Photos, by courtesy Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

It may have been the daring spirit of the Irish in her father's blood it could have been the pioneer spirit of her mother's forebears; far more likely it was a mixture of the two that combined to make Alice Chisholm a leader, for all her gentle manner; a fierce patriot, for all her mildness, and a woman of rare courage, tenacity and determination when the time came for her to display such calibre.

It was after she moved into the Goulburn district with her parents that Alice Morphy met William Chisholm, and after their marriage, they settled on a property not many miles from "Kippilaw." Here, at "Merrila," their, five children were born, and here, doubtless, she developed those qualities of courage, endurance and patience which most Australian women on the land acquired early, and which played such a part in the growth of Australia as a nation fit and ready to take her worthy place among the nations of the world.

Widowed as far back as 1902, Alice Chisholm remained at "Merrila" until 1907, when she took her four children one boy had died — to England, the boys to study, one wool, the other architecture — the girls music and painting.

She had her first taste of adventure when the White Star liner on which she and her family travelled was wrecked off the coast of Cornwall in a heavy fog, but as none of the passengers' lives was ever in danger, and they and their belongings were shipped to London by the company, it simply added spice to the journey.

The outbreak of the first World War found the family back in Australia, and the eldest son, now married, in charge of "Merrila."

It seemed that everybody's sons including her own went off to the war, and to be nearer to the scene of Australia's baptism of fire, also with some vague unformed idea that there might be some way in which she could help, Alice Chisholm and her one unmarried daughter went off to Cairo, arriving there in 1915 when the Gallipoli campaign was at its height.

THE first military base hospital handling Australian war casualties was established at Heliopolis, just out of Cairo, and it was here, in the most unostentatious way possible that Alice Chisholm began the great work that was to make her name revered wherever Australian soldiers went throughout the war in the Mediterranean theatre.

In those early days of war, the Red Cross had no organised V. A.'s services to attend to the small needs of disabled soldiers. And hospital staffs were far too busy to worry whether Private Bill Smith had cigarettes or toothpaste, whether he was homesick for his family, if he needed a shave, a pack of playing cards, or a toothpick.

But Mrs. Chisholm, going quietly in and out of the wards day after day, soon grew to know the men — they soon grew to look for her and the comforts she brought them. Not only did she give all her time, but the greater part of her not insubstantial income was devoted to her "boys" and their needs. She provided them with writing materials and posted their letters home for them; she brought games for the convalescents to play — and thus began "Mother Chisholm's" canteen, with which thousands of our troops were to become familiar as the war dragged on to the Gallipoli evacuation thence through the Egyptian and Palestine campaigns.

AFTER Gallipoli the tide of returning troops shifted to Port Said, and here on the beach, and with the help of a few Australian friends who had joined her she established a big canteen. On landing from the hospital ships and the troop transports, the sight of the Australian, flag bravely fluttering above "Mother Chisholm's," was the first thing that greeted war-weary eyes. There the troops found rest and recreation, friendly Australian feminine voices to greet them, and good old Australian "tucker."

Not only did the canteen supply them, at a cost that simply covered the price of the food, with excellent hot meals, but it also offered the facilities of a club and recreation room where the men could rest and meet their mates, instead of roaming the none-too-safe streets of the town.

By now the Army authorities had officially recognised "Mother Chisholm's" magnificent voluntary 24-hour-a-day service to the troops.

The scene shifted again in 1916 to Kantara, which became the gateway to Sinai. Troops passed through all hours of the day and night by train, and here, hard by the railway station, in a collec-tion of tents, Mrs. Chisholm set up her most famous canteen.

Mrs. Chisholm went regularly to Port Said markets and bought her food supplies. The Army provided her with B-class men to help in the canteen chores, preparing vegetables, washing up etc. and a 24-hour-a-day service was conducted. Thousands of troops, coming and going from the Palestinian front, looked forward to a good meal and a blessed interlude at "Mother Chisholm's." Eventually a branch was established at Jerusalem.

In 1918, before the end of the war, Mrs. Chisholm was awarded the O.B.E. in recognition of her magnificent work, but it was long after the war's end — when the last of the returning troops had passed through Kantara on their way back to Australia in August 1919, before the indefatigable "Mother Chisholm" returned to Australia.

In 1920, during the visit of the Prince of Wales (now Duke of Windsor) to Australia, she received full recognition of her splendid work, the Prince himself investing her with the Grand Order of Dame of the British Empire at Government House, Sydney.

As quietly and unobtrusively as she had emerged from seclusion, Dame Alice Chisholm returned to private life. But after the strenuous war years, she found it difficult to confine her energies to suburban domesticity at Edgecliff, Sydney, and when, in 1922, the Country Women's Association was beginning to take shape, Dame Alice was among its earliest members among country women living in the city.

She was first president of the Cumberland Branch — helped to choose the site for Keera House Seaside Home at Deewhyand helped to finance its purchaseShe was first chairman of the Seaside  Home committee, relinquishing her post when she made another trip to England to see her married daughter.

When nearing 70 years old, Dame Alice Chisholm built a home overlooking a lovely secluded bush gully at West Pennant Hills in which to spend the remainder of her life. There she proceeded to carve out a Paradise in her lovely garden.

When, at the age of 97, she passed away in June this year, what more fitting than that former members of Australian Light Horse Divisions should act as pallbearers when she was laid to rest in the Chisholm family vault at "Kippilaw," Goulburn?

In the records of Australia's rise to nationhood there's a very special place for the name of Dame Alice Chisholm. THE DIGGERS' FRIEND (1954, October 13). The Land (Sydney, NSW : 1911 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article135254463

The death of Dame Alice Isabel Chisholm, aged 97, at her residence, "Bolderwood," West Pennant Hills, on Sunday night, has removed another link in a pioneering Goulburn district family.
Dame Alice was born at Grena, near Goulburn, the daughter of the late Major and Mrs. R. Morphy, and was a colourful figure in the city and district's activities for many years.
She was the second Australian to become a Dame, Dame Nellie Melba being the first.

Despite her advanced age, Dame Alice enjoyed good health until the time of her death. She suffered a stroke at her home on Sunday night and died soon afterwards.

She married the late Mr. William Alexander Chisholm and moved to Merrilla, Goulburn, after her wedding. Surviving members of the family are two sons, Mr. W. M. Chisholm. of Merrilla, and Mr. H. B. Chisholm of West Pennant Hills, and a daughter, Mrs. M. R. Ward of Sussex, England, who married Archdeacon J. W. Ward, of Monaro and Goulburn, one-time Vice-Dean of St. Saviour's Cathedral.
The funeral will take place at the Church of England Cemetery, Kippilaw, tomorrow afternoon after a service in St. Saviour's Cathedral, commencing at 2.30. 

Dame Alice will long be remembered by members of the forces, and ex-servicemen and women, for her splendid work during and after the 1914-18 war. She was organiser and superintendent of the Soldiers' Club and Rest Camp at Kantara, Suez Canal and was known to almost every member of the forces. On her return to Goulburn and district, Dame Alice showed a keen interest in the welfare of ex-servicemen and was one of the original benefactors of the Soldiers' Club. She always took a keen interest in the work of the Church of England in Goulburn and district centres and was a regular worshipper.
Mr. M. C. Morphy, of Kooringaroo soldier settlement, near Goulburn, is a nephew of the deceased.

It would be a gross under-statement to affirm that Dame Alice Chisholm will always be held in affectionate memory by the thousands of Australian Light Horsemen, who served in the Sinai and Palestine Campaigns of 1916-1918.

Early in the war, when all Australian troops overseas were concentrated in Egypt, Mrs. Chisholm established a canteen in Heliopolis, but this was not the canteen for which she was to become famous.
After Gallipoli, and then the departure of the rest of the Australians for France, the Suez Canal was the first line of defence. From here, the Light Horse with No. 1 Squadron Australian Flying Corps pushed out into the desert of Sinai to hold and later defeat the enemy in the battles round Romani in August, 1916.

Early in 1916, Miss Rout from New Zealand, Mrs. Chisholm and Miss Rania McPhillamy (who after the war became Mrs. Single, wife of the late much-loved commander of the 4th L.H. Field Ambulance) decided to form, at their own expense, a canteen at Kantara, a lonely outpost on the west bank of the Canal.

Their intrepid venture was not at first encouraged by the authorities, who were anxious about their isolation—the only white women for 20 miles with, at times, only a brigade between them and the enemy. Miss Rout resigned through illness, but the other two carried on. Little did they (or the authorities) visualise what they had started.

At first, one remembers their lone tent with, outside it, a table and some packing cases—just off the road opposite the pontoon bridge over the Canal. This was the setting-out point for all troops entering the fighting zone. The troops riding in column in the dust with Egyptian heat, flies and mosquitoes, were amazed to behold these two really "dinkum Aussies." There they were, handing up to the riders oranges and "eggs-a-cook" (hard-boiled—who wants to be told what that means). If you could break off from the column, a cup of tea was your prize—given with affectionate greeting and motherly smile. Here was true Australian bush hospitality in surely its unbelievably unique setting—and did the boys appreciate it!

As the campaign developed over the years 1916-1918, Kantara became its main base with a permanent population in various depots of 60,000. It was not long before such leaders as Generals Chavel, Ryric and McArthur-Onslow, pressed for some official assistance to the two lone ladies. The tiny canteen—a mere mustard seed—soon blossomed by their energy, devotion and ability into a large hostel. A group of buildings constructed of wood and hessian appeared—dormitories and dining rooms, with a staff of Egyptian "wallads." Eggs-a-cook gave place to three course meals, and there were shower-baths—the height of luxury. Generals and troopers Australians, Tommies, Jocks all accepted the gracious hospitality while on their way to and from leave in Egypt.

The growth of the canteen can be measured by the statement in the official War History of the A.I.F. Volume VII that, on one occasion, 60,000 eggs were cooked in the kitchens in one day. This was an addition to the rations of a whole division camped en route near by. Late in the campaign, Miss McPhillamy, with General Allenby's consent, established branch canteens in Jerusalem and after the Armistice, at Rafa. Eventually the financial profits from the canteens involved a sum of considerable size. The two ladies insisted that the whole of this amount went back to the troops as "comforts": for instance, on troopships taking the boys home. It is interesting to note that a considerable sum which was left over was donated by Dame Alice to help form the Goulburn Returned Soldiers' Club—for this club was originally conceived in the mind of the same very wonderful lady. While there are Light Horsemen alive "We will remember" Dame Alice Chisholm. —R.G.W. DEATH OF DAME ALICE CHISHOLM (1954, June 1). Goulburn Evening Post (NSW : 1940 - 1954), p. 2 (Daily and Evening). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article103689890

Henry Baird passed away at his home at Mona Vale in October 1940, his son overseas serving with the Army, his daughters came home:

At Queen's Club

Mrs. Humphrey Becher, who returned to Sydney from England about a month ago, and has been staying with her mother, Mrs. H. S. Baird, of Corinella, Mona Vale, entertained at a party at the Queen's Club yesterday. Among the guests were Mesdames Kitty Paradice, Michael King, Misses Nancy Houston and Ena Edwards. VISITORS IN TOWN FOR DANCE. (1939, September 30). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17641829

Mrs. Bill Wentworth formerly of Port Kembla and her infant son Hamilton are staying with the former's mother, Mrs. H. S. Baird, at her home in Mona Vale, where they expect to stay for the summer months. Mrs Baird's son-in-law and daughter Mr. and Mrs. Colin Syme, of Balwyn, Victoria, who have been here on a short visit returned home by plane on Tuesday. SOCIAL AND PERSONAL. (1940, October 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 22. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17705554

In the Supreme Court of New South Wales.


In the will of Henry Stuart Hamilton Baird, late of Waterview-street, Mona Vale, in the State of New South Wales, retired pastoralist, deceased.

PURSUANT to the provisions of the Wills, Probate and Administration Act, 1898-1938, of the Testator's Family Maintenance and Guardianship of Infants Act, 1916 1938, and of the Trustee Act, 1925-1938: Notice is hereby given that all creditors and other persons having any claim or demand upon or against the estate or otherwise interested in the property and assets of the abovenamed deceased, who died at Waterview-street, Mona Vale, on the 6th day of October, 1940, and probate of whose will was granted by the Supreme Court of New South Wales, in its Probate Jurisdiction, on the 28th day of November, 1940, to Colin York Syme, solicitor, of 103 William-street, Melbourne, and Perpetual Trustee Company Limited, of 33-39 Hunter-street, Sydney, are hereby required to send, on or before the 30th day of February next, full particulars of their claims and demands upon the said estate or in respect of the said property and assets or any part thereof to Perpetual Trustee Company Limited, 33-39 Hunter-street, Sydney, at the expiration of which time the said Colin York Syme and the said Perpetual Trustee Company Limited, as executors of the will of the said deceased, intend to proceed to administer the said estate and to convey and distribute the property and assets of the said deceased to and among the parties and persons entitled thereto, having regard only to the claims and demands of which they shall then have notice; and the said Colin York Syme and the said company will not, in respect of the property and assets or any part thereof so conveyed or distributed, be liable to any person of whose claim they shall not have had notice at the time of such conveyance or distribution.—Dated this 4th day of December, 1940.

For Perpetual Trustee Company Limited,

H. V. DOUGLASS, Managing Director. Sly & Russell, Proctors.

1853 £1 32s. PROBATE JURISDICTION. (1940, December 6). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 4842. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225111670 

Mrs. Humphrey Beccher and Mrs. Bill Wentworth, who are staying with their mother, Mrs. H. S. Baird, at Mona Vale ...WHO GOES WHERE.. (1942, January 4). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article231766179

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) (2:02 PM) —I move:

That the House record its deep regret at the death on 15 June 2003, of the Honourable William Charles (Bill) Wentworth, AO, former Federal Minister and Member of this House for the Division of Mackellar from 1949 to 1977, places on record its appreciation of his long and meritorious public service, and tenders its profound sympathy to his family in their bereavement.

The death of Bill Wentworth in Sydney on Sunday at the age of 95 removes one of the great political characters who have served in this House since World War II. Bill Wentworth was for most, but certainly not all, of his political career a member of the Liberal Party of Australia. He was elected to represent the division of Mackellar in 1949, and he held the seat of Mackellar until the 1977 election. He in fact resigned from the Liberal Party prior to the 1977 election and stood for the Senate at that election. Almost 20 years later, at the age of 87, he ran again for federal parliament as an Independent candidate in the by-election for the seat of Wentworth—which, of course, is the seat carrying the name of one of his illustrious ancestors—that followed the resignation of John Hewson, the former Liberal Party leader.

During the time that Bill Wentworth served in the federal parliament, he identified himself with many causes. By today's standards, it would be quite impossible to categorise Bill Wentworth. He was certainly not an economic rationalist. He was a great believer in government intervention. He was a person who loathed what he regarded as the policies of globalisation. He wrote to me incessantly and often came to see me—as recently as less than 12 months ago—to rail against some of the policies now embraced by the side of politics that I am pleased to lead in this parliament. Equally, however, throughout his life he was a passionate believer in the cause of liberal democracy in the long struggle through the Cold War against communism. I do not think I have met in the federal parliament a person who was more passionate in his opposition to communism, a more stoic defender of the values, as he saw them, of Western civilisation in the years of the Cold War.

He was well ahead of his time in relation to many causes. More than any other individual within the Liberal Party, I believe he was responsible for persuading the then Holt government to hold a referendum in 1967 to remove unfair provisions in the Australian Constitution in relation to Indigenous people. He was a passionate advocate of removing the anomalies of rail gauges in Australia. His long campaign to standardise rail gauges across the huge Australian continent is something that all people who were around in the 1960s and early 1970s of Australian politics will remember.

Bill Wentworth was almost an occupational rebel within his own party. He was a constant critic of the Menzies government. He often rebelled against decisions of the Menzies government. He did not achieve ministerial preferment inside the Liberal Party until the election of John Gorton as Prime Minister following the death of Harold Holt at the beginning of 1968. He served as the first person specifically responsible for Aboriginal affairs in the Gorton government, a very significant first for which he deserves very special credit. Although losing responsibility for Aboriginal affairs after the resignation of John Gorton as Prime Minister, he did retain a ministry in the McMahon government, unlike some other members of the Gorton ministry who disappeared after the change in March 1971.

Bill Wentworth was born in Sydney on 8 September 1907. He was the eldest son of William Charles and Denise Wentworth and a descendant of D'Arcy Wentworth and his son William Wentworth, amongst the first explorers to cross the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. He was educated at the Armidale School and later at New College, Oxford, where he earned a Master of Arts. Upon his return to Australia he became an economic adviser to the New South Wales Treasury, from 1933 to 1936, during the term in office of the Stevens government. On 30 June 1935 he married Barbara Chisholm. In 1941 he enlisted with the Army Reserve and served as a captain with Headquarters 1st Division until 1942. Even during those times he displayed a streak of rebellion. It is recorded, I believe accurately, that he led a party which captured the police station at Waterfall, south of Sydney, in order to demonstrate the inadequacies of home defence.

In 1949 he was elected to the northern beaches seat of Mackellar, a seat—as I mentioned earlier—he held for a period of 28 years. He became a founding member of the Liberal Party of Australia and he served for many years on the New South Wales state executive. I, in fact, first made Bill Wentworth's acquaintance in the early 1960s when I became a member of the New South Wales executive. In his colourful contribution to all debates, he never lost enthusiasm. No matter what issue was being debated, Bill Wentworth had a vigorous, colourful and always very interesting view. His maiden speech of 24 February 1950 was very interesting. He chose to speak about only one subject: resolving deadlocks between the House of Representatives and the Senate. It provides some very interesting reading. He was, through his long parliamentary career, an active member of several parliamentary committees—the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and the Government Members Committee on Rail Gauge Standardisation. He was also the parliamentary representative on the Council of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

When I first became a member of this House in 1974, Bill Wentworth of course had ceased to be a minister—we were in opposition. But he was one of the most colourful people that I had the privilege of working with as a colleague. He was always an encouragement to new members in that he never lost interest in any subject that was being debated. He always had a view. He sometimes drove the whips crazy by talking without warning, but he always had something very interesting to say. It is impossible, I think, for anybody to say that they always agreed with Bill Wentworth, because Bill's views were unpredictable. They were always passionately expressed. He was a person of enormous intellect. Many people would describe his views as eccentric, but nobody could regard him as a person who lacked enormous courage. He had a very strong commitment to his political values. He was an interesting mixture of the conservative, the radical, the liberal and the illiberal. Depending on what the issue happened to be, Bill could often confound you. I found him, in the best sense of the word, an immensely likeable person. He gave an enormous amount to this country. He may have been the scion of what is regarded as one of the established families of Australia—he was nonetheless a powerful advocate of the cause of underprivileged people. Can I say on behalf of the Liberal Party we thank him for his great contribution to Australia.

We thank him for his passionate commitment to the cause of liberal democracy and anticommunism during the years of the Cold War, a battle that many members of this House remember with increasingly distant recollections but nonetheless something that consumed all of the passions in all of the interested people through the 1960s and into the 1970s. There was no stauncher defender of the cause of the West against Soviet communism than Bill Wentworth. There was no person more ready to identify what he saw as the threat of Soviet imperialism than Bill Wentworth. He will be remembered for that and he will be remembered for his commitment to the cause of Aboriginal people. To his wonderful widow, Barbara—a delightful person who endeared herself to all who met her—and to their children and grandchildren, I extend the deepest sympathy on behalf of the Liberal Party of Australia, as a former colleague of his and as a person who regards him as having been a very fine Australian. - Monday, 16 June 2003, Page: 16384, Parliament of Australian Government Records

The Bairds of Mona Vale - Wentworths of Newport - by A J Guesdon, 2021.