ALLAN, John (1866-1936)


ALLAN, John (1866-1936)
premier of Victoria
son of Andrew Allan, a farmer, was born at Deep Creek near Romsey, Victoria, on 27 March 1866. He became a farmer and established one of the finest wheat and dairy farms in the Goulburn valley. He early took an interest in municipal questions, was a member of the Deakin shire council for many years, and his special interest in irrigation led to his becoming a member of the Rodney Water Trust. He took a leading part in the formation of the Victorian Farmers' Union which was merged, in the Victorian Country party during the war years. In 1917 he was elected a member of the legislative assembly for Rodney and retained that seat for the remainder of his life. He was soon elected leader of the Country party and proved himself to be a vigorous and logical debater. He joined the H. S. W. Lawson ministry in September 1923, as president of the board of land and works and minister of immigration, but only held office until March 1924, when the ministry was re-constructed. In November 1924 he moved a vote of want of confidence in the G. M. Prendergast (q.v.) ministry and became premier and minister of water-supply. He also became minister of railways in August 1926. Among the legislation, passed by this ministry was a superannuation act for the government service on a contributory basis, and an act making voting at elections compulsory. Legislation was also brought in to assist the financing of wheat growers, and for suspending payments by farmers affected by drought conditions. The ministry was defeated in May 1927. When the Argyle (q.v.) ministry came into power in May 1932 Allan became minister of agriculture and vice-president of the board of lands and works. He resigned his leadership of the Country party in June 1933, and died on 22 February 1936. He married in 1889 Annie Stewart who survived him with four sons and two daughters.
"Honest John" as Allan was called was a picturesque figure in Victorian politics. He had an imperturbable and genial disposition, a sense of humour a clear-thinking brain and a resonant voice. He knew the difficulties of the man on the land from personal contact with him, and as leader of the Country party fought a hard but fair battle for him.
The Argus, Melbourne, 23 February 1936; The Age, Melbourne, 24 February 1936; Year-Book of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1925-35.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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