22 February 1956

22nd Parliament · 1st Session

The President (Senator the Hon. A. M. McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

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Minister for the Navy · QueenslandMinister for the Navy · LP

by leave - It is with deep regret that I inform honorable senators of the death of Mr. William Davies, member for the division of Cunningham in the House of Representatives, who died at Wollongong on Friday last, the 17th February, at the age of 73.

Mr. Davies was born at Abertillery, in South Wales. He came to Australia in 1912, and figured prominently in industrial matters relating to coal-mining. He was associated with politics for a great many years, and gave long and distinguished service to the Australian Labour party.

His parliamentary service began in 1917, when he was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for the division of Wollongong. Subsequently, he represented, at different times, the divisions of Wollondilly, Wollongong, Illawarra and Wollongong-Kembla. He served in the New South Wales Parliament continuously for 32 years, from 1917 until the 28th October, 1949, when he resigned to contest the federal election. While a member of the Kew South Wales Parliament, he was Minister for Public Instruction in 1927, and from 1930 until 1932 he was Minister for Education.

In 1949 he was elected to the House of Representatives for the division of Cunningham, which electorate he continued to represent until his death. He is survived by a widow, a son and a daughter. I move -

That the Senate expresses its deep regret at the death of Mr. William Davies, who was at the time of his death a member of the House of Representatives for the Division of Cunningham, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and tender? its sincere sympathy to his widow and the members of his family in their bereavement.

Senator McKENNA:
Leader of the Opposition · Tasmania

– On behalf of the Opposition I second the motion which the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator O’sullivan) has moved. The record of public service of the late member outlined by the Minister inspires the thought that Mr. William Davies, who, at the time of his death, was the member for Cunningham in the House of Representatives, and was able to command the confidence of the electors of various electorates in Australia over a period of 39 years, and throughout the whole of that term won and held the respect and affection of his parliamentary colleagues, both State and Federal, must have had outstanding qualities of heart and mind. That, indeed, was the case. Mr. Davies was a man of the highest character, the utmost integrity, and very great ability. In addition, he was kindly and tolerant, and he possessed a judicial mind. It did not surprise those of us who knew him that during his long illness he preserved that outstanding quality of his - tranquillity - and that he remained captain of his soul. His long illness afforded him the blessing of time for contemplation and for preparation for his end. As he approached that supreme and critical moment, that must come to each one of us, he had every cause for satisfaction as he reviewed a life devoted to service for others. He died with the certain knowledge that he had played a vital part in improving the difficult lot. of coal-miners, in promoting the cause of education and in improving the lot of his fellows generally, particularly those of the areas that he represented so conscientiously and well.

Mr. Davies was a devoted family man. We extend to his bereaved wife and family our very deepest sympathy in their sorrow at his passing. We trust that they will be given the strength to bear that sorrow and that it will lighten that burden to know that the work and the personal worth of the late Mr. Davies was both widely known and very highly appraised throughout Australia. Wc hope, too, it will lighten that burden for them to know that we, his former colleagues in this Parliament, also deeply mourn his passing.

Senator COOPER:
Minister for Repatriation · Queensland · CP

– The members of the Australian Country party desire to be associated with the motion before the

Senate concerning the death of Mr. William Davies, the former member for Cunningham. The late member had a very long term of public service to his credit in both the State and Federal spheres of politics. I personally remember him very well, especially the courtesy and help that he extended to me on the various occasions when I met him in his electorate when I was dealing with repatriation matters. He was always helpful, and on those occasions I found that among his other duties he took a very keen interest in the general welfare of returned soldiers. We deeply regret his death and we extend to his widow and family our very deepest sympathy.

Question resolved in the affirmative,, honorable senators standing their places.

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Motion (by Senator O’Sullivan) agreed to -

That, as a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased member, the Senate do now adjourn.

Senate adjourned at 3.8 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 22 February 1956, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.