- Thomas Crawford (Australian politician)
Hon. Thomas William Crawford (
31 January 1865– 8 June 1948) was a long-serving member of the Australian Senate.
Born in Collingwood,
Melbourne, Crawford was raised on a Gippslandfarm before working as a printer on several newspapers, including the Brisbane Courier-Mail. He became involved in trade union issues and became President of the Queensland Typographical Association in 1892, as well as a delegate to the Australian Labour Federation.
In 1895 Crawford moved to the country, purchasing land near
Mossman, Queenslandand becoming a successful sugar canegrower. He became Chairman of the Mossman Sugar Mill and heavily involved in sugar issues, including the use of Melanesianlabourers on sugar plantations. His stature within the sugar growing community was such that he was elected President of the powerful Queensland Sugar Producers Association in 1909 (a position he held until 1943) and as a member of the Douglas Shire Council.
Crawford unsuccessfully stood for parliament firstly in 1910 as a
Commonwealth Liberal Partycandidate for the Division of Herbertand then as a Senate candidate at the 1914 election before his election to the Senate in 1917 as a representative of the Nationalist Party of Australia.
Crawford retained his seat at subsequent elections until his retirement in June 1947. From 1931, he was a member of the
United Australia Partyand from 1 July 1938 until his retirement Crawford, along with Hattil Foll, was the longest serving member of the Senate.
Respected for his authority on sugar issues, an important industry in Australia at the time, Crawford served as honorary minister and acting minister for trade and customs in the
Stanley Brucegovernment. He was also at times a strong advocate for statehood for the Australian tropics.
Crawford died at
Indooroopilly, survived by his wife Emily, four daughters and three sons. His son William Crawford was awarded the Military Medalfor bravery in the field.
* Ann G. Smith, ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A080159b.htm Crawford, Thomas William (1865 - 1948)] ', "
Australian Dictionary of Biography", Vol. 8, MUP, 1981, pp 141-142.
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