MOORE, Sir Newton James (1870-1936)


MOORE, Sir Newton James (1870-1936)
politician
son of James Moore, was born at Bunbury, Western Australia, on 17 May 1870, and was educated at Prince Alfred College, Adelaide. On leaving school he became a pupil of Alexander Forrest (q.v.), and passed his examinations as a surveyor in 1894. He was employed for some years by the Western Australian government as a surveyor and engineer, and, taking an interest in municipal affairs, became a member of the Bunbury town council and subsequently mayor. In 1904 he was elected a member of the legislative assembly for Bunbury and became minister for lands and agriculture in the Rason (q.v.) ministry in August 1905. He succeeded Rason as premier in May 1906 and was also minister for lands. In this position he gave much attention to agricultural development in his state. His policy was cheap land for settlers, and the opening up of the country by the help of loans. The wheat industry was encouraged, and more interest was taken in forestry. There was also much development in railway construction. Moore's ministry was defeated in Septeniber 1910, and in the following year he became agent-general for Western Australia at London. From 1915 to 1917 he was general officer commanding the Australian Imperial forces in Great Britain. He had field a commission for many years in Australia, commanded the 18th regiment Australian light horse from 1901 to 1908, and afterwards commanded the Western Australian division of the Australian intelligence corps. During the war he was promoted to the rank of major-general. He retired from the agent-generalship in 1918, was elected a member of the house of commons, and sat almost continuously until 1932. He was for 10 years chairnian of the standing orders committee of the house of commons. On his retirement Moore was appointed president of the Dominion Coal and Steel Corporation of Canada, and applied his mining and engineering experience with great energy to the development of the iron and steel industry in Canada. He was also a director of several important companies. He died after an operation at London on 28 October 1936. He married in 1898 Isabel Lowrie, who survived him with one son and three daughters. He was created C.M.G. in 1908 and K.C.M.G. in 1910.
Moore was a big burly man, friendly and popular, with a keen business sense. He was only seven years in politics in Australia and five of them were spent in office. Going to London when only 41 he established himself as an excellent representative of Australia, and when he entered English politics his opinion on Empire questions was much valued by British ministers. Though essentially a conservative he is stated to have been the confidant of Labour leaders, and he was a popular figure at all Anglo-Australian or Anglo-Canadian gatherings in London. His wide experience, sound sense, and business knowledge, made him a valuable link between the dominions and the British government.
The Times, 29 October, 2 November 1936; The West Australian, 29 October 1936; Who's Who, 1935; J. S. Battye, The Cyclopaedia of Western Australia.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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