MORGAN, Sir Arthur (1856-1916)


MORGAN, Sir Arthur (1856-1916)
premier, president legislative council, and lieutenant-governor of Queensland
was the fourth son of James Morgan who for some time represented Warwick, Queensland, in the legislative assembly and became chairman of committees. He was born on 19 September 1856, was educated at the public school at Warwick, and then joined the staff of the Warwick Argus which was owned and edited by his father. He became a member of the local municipal council and was several times elected mayor. In 1883 he was elected a member of the legislative assembly for Warwick, held his seat until 1896, and was re-elected in 1899. In that year he was chosen as speaker and showed dignity and ability in this position. In 1903 Philp (q.v.) resigned on account of defections from his party, and the leader of the Labour party being unable to form a ministry, Morgan was asked to lead a combination of some of the liberals and the Labour party. He resigned the speakership, formed a ministry, and became premier, chief secretary, secretary for railways and vice-president of the executive council. A policy of retrenchment was carried out which gave Morgan some temporary unpopularity, and his combining with the Labour party was much questioned by his former associates. The position, however, was one of some difficulty when Philp resigned, as at the moment there appeared to be no outstanding man to take his place, and Morgan felt it to be his duty to carry on a government. In January 1906, after the death of Sir Hugh Nelson (q.v.), he was appointed president of the legislative council and on two occasions was acting-governor. In 1908 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Queensland. In his later years his health was not good and he died on 20 December 1916. He married in 1880 Alice Augusta, daughter of H. E. Clinton, who survived him with five sons and three daughters. He published in 1902, Discovery and Development of the Downs. He was knighted in 1907.
Morgan came into prominence by his natural courtesy and evenness of temperament which made him an excellent chairman of committees, speaker, president of the council and lieutenant-governor. He was neither a forceful personality nor the type of man that attracts a large following. But he was a first-class servant of the public who earned the respect of every one in politics, and carried out with conspicuous ability the high offices to which he was called.
The Brisbane Courier, 21 December 1916; Who's Who, 1916; C. A. Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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