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Former Member Details

Mr George Muir BLACK (1854 - 1936)

Member Photo
Date of Birth: 15/02/1854
Place of Birth: Edinburgh, Scotland
Date of Death: 18/07/1936
Place of Death: Lidcombe, New South Wales, Australia
Parliamentary Service
Position Start End Period Notes
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly 17 Jun 1891 21 Feb 1917 25 years 8 months 5 days
Member of the NSW Legislative Council 17 Jul 1917 22 Apr 1934 16 years 9 months 6 days Life Appointments under the Constitution Act: Date of Writ of Summons 6 May 1917. Granted retention of title of 'Honourable' for life.
Member for West Sydney 17 Jun 1891 25 Jun 1894 3 years 9 days
Member for Sydney-Gipps 17 Jul 1894 05 Jul 1895 11 months 19 days
Member for Sydney-Gipps 24 Jul 1895 08 Jul 1898 2 years 11 months 15 days
Member for Namoi 14 Oct 1910 06 Nov 1913 3 years 24 days
Member for Namoi 06 Dec 1913 21 Feb 1917 3 years 2 months 16 days
Minister for Agriculture 23 Feb 1915 15 Mar 1915 21 days
Minister for Public Health 27 Apr 1915 15 Nov 1916 1 year 6 months 20 days
Colonial Secretary 15 Mar 1915 15 Nov 1916 1 year 8 months 1 day
Library Committee No. 3 29 Aug 1894 05 Jul 1895 10 months 7 days
Library Committee No.3 14 May 1896 16 Nov 1896 6 months 3 days
Library Committee No.3 28 Apr 1897 10 Dec 1897 7 months 13 days
Library Committee No. 4 28 Jun 1898 08 Jul 1898 11 days
Library. Committee No. 3 20 Aug 1895 08 Jul 1898 2 years 10 months 19 days
Elections and Qualifications Committee No.2 24 Nov 1910 23 Dec 1910 1 month
Elections and Qualifications Committee No.2 16 May 1911 01 Aug 1911 2 months 17 days
Timber Industry Committee No.15 11 Jul 1911 01 Aug 1911 22 days
The Governor’s Opening Speech Committee No.1 29 Aug 1911 29 Aug 1911 1 day
Elections and Qualifications Committee No.2 30 Aug 1911 03 Oct 1911 1 month 4 days
Library Committee No.4 12 Sep 1911 28 Mar 1912 6 months 17 days
Seizure of Timber, Plant &c. and Prosecution of James Ambrose Taylor Committee No.13 15 Oct 1912 04 Dec 1912 1 month 20 days
Elections and Qualifications Committee No.2 31 Jul 1912 05 Dec 1912 4 months 5 days
Library Committee No.4 07 Aug 1912 05 Dec 1912 3 months 29 days
Elections and Qualifications Committee No.2 29 Jul 1913 15 Oct 1913 2 months 17 days
Library Committee No.4 06 Aug 1913 15 Oct 1913 2 months 10 days
Elections and Qualifications Committee No. 2 03 Mar 1914 11 Mar 1914 9 days
Library Committee No. 3 11 Mar 1914 18 Apr 1914 1 month 8 days
Library Committee No. 3 22 Jul 1914 23 Feb 1915 7 months 2 days
Prevalence of Venereal Diseases Committee No. 8 07 Jul 1915 13 Apr 1916 9 months 7 days
Prevalence of Venereal Diseases Committee No. 7 11 Aug 1916 21 Dec 1916 4 months 11 days
Political Party Activity
Founder of the Republican League 1888; Member of the Australian Socialist League from 1890 to 1894. Foundation member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP). However, he refused to take the pledge in 1893 and won a seat as independent Labor in 1894. He rejoined the Party when the pledge was reworded in 1895. He was a member of the central executive in 1901, 1903, 1911 and 1915-1916. He was expelled over conscription in 1916 and dropped from the Ministry and stood as an independent National in 1917.
Community Activity
Commissioned as a Justice of the Peace in 1913; Trustee of the Public Library of New South Wales 1913 to 1916; Director of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital from 1915 to 1916; Director of Sydney Hospital from 1913 to 1936; Member of the Universal Service League in 1915; and Honorary member of the Royal Australian Historical Society in 1932.
Qualifications, occupations and interests
Newspaper editor. Educated at Thorburn's School at Leith, Scotland. Matriculated in the Faculty of Arts, Edinburgh in 1871. Transferred to medicine in 1873 but left without graduating in 1877. After arriving in New South Wales in 1878, undertook a variety of occupations, including billiard-marker and country journalist. Settled in Sydney as a journalist and worked as sub-editor of the Bulletin from 1889 to 1891; as editor of the Australian Workman from 1891 to 1892; for John Haynes' Elector, later the Newsletter and as editor of the first 17 issues of the Barrier Truth in 1898; as editor of the Sydney Worker from May 1900 to July 1904; as editor and joint owner (with G W Lavender) of the Radical in 1904; as editor of the Bathurst National Advocate in 1908 and was a contributor to the Sunday Times. Black was the author of the following books: In Defence of Robert Burns, 1901; The Origins and Ethics of Landowning, 1903; History of the NSW Labor Party, 1910; A History of the NSW Political Labor Party 1926- 1929; To perpetuate the Memory of Rosalind Singleton Black....., 1918, An Anzac Areopagus and other verses, 1923; and Arbitration's Chequered Career, 1929.
Military Service
Honours Received
Membership of other Parliaments & Offices Held
Local Government Activity
Personal
Son of George Stevenson, a messenger-at-arms, and Isabella Muir. Arrived in Victoria, Australia in 1877 and moved to New South Wales in 1878. Had a cohabitation relationship with Georgina Duggan between 1877 and 1891 and had issue 12 children. Married (1) Rosielinn (Rosalind) Clarkson, nee Singleton on 21 June 1894. Married (2) Priscilla Verne Kelly on 11 April 1928 and had issue 3 daughters and 1 son. Presbyterian faith.
Additional Information
Australian Dictionary of Biography, volume seven; Biographical Register of the New South Wales Parliament 1901 - 1970; Members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, 1856-1901; Ken Turner and Michael Hogan (editors), The Worldly Art of Politics, Sydney, Federation Press, 2006 (Chapter 10: "George Muir Black: Labor publicist", by Jim Hagan, page 101) Personal papers in the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: George Black - papers, 1874 - 1933, together with letters received, 1913-1919, by Rosalind Singleton Black (MLMSS 256). George Black - 'History of the New South Wales Political Labour Party from its conception until 1917, ca.1926 being ts. Manuscript with corrections. (A2562).