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Member Details

The Hon. Thomas John LEY (1880 - 1947)

Member Photo
Date of Birth: 28/10/1880
Place of Birth: Bath, England
Date of Death: 24/07/1947
Place of Death: Crowthorne, Berkshire, England
Parliamentary Service
Position Start End Period Notes
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly 24 Mar 1917 29 Sep 1925 8 years 6 months 6 days
Member for Hurstville 24 Mar 1917 18 Feb 1920 2 years 10 months 26 days
Member for St George 20 Mar 1920 17 Feb 1922 1 year 10 months 29 days
Member for St George 25 Mar 1922 18 Apr 1925 3 years 25 days
Member for St George 30 May 1925 29 Sep 1925 4 months
Minister of Public Instruction and Labour and Industry 20 Dec 1921 20 Dec 1921 1 day
Minister of Justice 13 Apr 1922 17 Jun 1925 3 years 2 months 5 days
The Governor's Opening Speech Committee No.1 17 Jul 1917 30 Mar 1918 8 months 14 days
Political Party Activity
Elected as a National in 1917; Progressive in 1920; councillor in 1922; joined National Ministry in 1922
Community Activity
Councillor of Millions Club 1918; Protestant Federation 1921 - 1925.
Qualifications, occupations and interests
Lawyer (solicitor); and businessman. Arrived in New South Wales with his mother in 1886, his father having died in 1882. Clerk with Norton, Smith & Co, solicitors. Advocate of prohibition and involved in the temperance movement; was nicknamed "Lemonade Ley". Articled to F.Osborne in 1906; admitted as a solicitor in 1914; member of the legal firm Norton, Smith & Co. 1917 - 1925; and of Ley, Andrews & Co. 1926 - 1928. Director of Universal Sales Company Ltd; promoted S.O.S Prickly Pear Poisons Ltd and Australasian Oil Fields Ltd 1924 - 1925. Rumoured to have been associated with the disappearance of F.A McDonald who had alleged a bribery attempt during the 1925 federal elections; and to have avoided legal action over one of his companies by the death of Hyman Goldstein Member of the Legislative Assembly in September 1928. After his electoral defeat went to England; promoted a million pound sweepstake; was a wartime black marketeer, convicted of murder in 1947 (the "Chalkpit Murder"); declared insane and committed to Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum where he died.
Military Service
Honours Received
Membership of other Parliaments & Offices Held
Member of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. Member of the House of Representatives for Barton 1925 - 1928.
Local Government Activity
Alderman at Hurstville Council 1904 - 1910.
Personal
Son of Henry Ley, butler, and his wife Elizabeth Bryant. Married Louise Vernon on 16 June 1898 and they had 3 sons. Methodist.
Additional Information
Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10. Dan Morgan, 'The Minister for Murder', 1979. Ley Papers, National Library of Australia (MS 6149).