George Mackay (Australian politician)

George Hugh Alexander Mackay (20 March 1872 – 5 November 1961) was an Australian politician and Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives.

Early life

Mackay was born at Copperfield, near Clermont in Queensland, to Scottish-born carpenter Hugh Mackay and Jane, nee Baird. He attended the state schools at Clermont and Bundaberg before becoming an apprentice printer at the "Peak Downs Telegram" in 1887. In 1894 he was promoted to foreman printer, and finally became managing editor. He married Edith Ann Heard on 23 September 1896 at the Wesleyan Church in Clermont, after which he joined his sister Barbara in the local bookshop and newsagency. He was elected to Clermont Toun Council in 1882 and served as mayor 1900-02.

Mackay moved to Lismore in New South Wales in 1902 before leasing a dairy farm at McLean's Ridge. Shortly afterwards, in 1905, the family moved back to Queensland, settling at Gympie, where Mackay opened an auctioneering and real estate business in partnership with Ray King. In 1911 he was elected to Gympie City Council; he was mayor in 1917.


Mackay was elected to the Queensland Legislative Assembly in 1912 as a Liberal member, representing the seat of Gympie. He was defeated in 1915, but in 1917 won the federal seat of Lilley as a Nationalist. In the House of Representatives he was known as a competent public speaker with a penchant for quoting figures; serving on the Joint Committee on Public Works (1920-28, chairman 1926-28), he was involved in the development of Canberra and the building of the Australian War Memorial. He stated that he had "no time for extremists or muddlers", and was known to dislike the Country Party.

In 1931, the Nationalist Party became the United Australia Party, and on 11 February 1932 Mackay was elected Speaker. In March 1934 he announced his retirement, stating that "one may remain in parliament too long".

Later life

After his retirement, Mackay was interested in bowls, and he was president of the Gympie Bowling Club 1936-39. He was a devout Presbyterian and Freemason, and in 1952 wrote "A summary of the history of the Gympie Presbyterian Church". He died on 5 November 1961 at Gympie and received a state funeral; he was buried at Gympie cemetery. He was survived by a son.


*Australian Dictionary of Biography|last=Brown |first=Elaine |authorlink=|year=1986|id=A100285b.htm|title= Mackay, George Hugh Alexander (1872 - 1961) |accessdate=2008-06-22

NAME=Mackay, George Hugh Alexander
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Australian politician
DATE OF BIRTH=20 March 1872
PLACE OF BIRTH= Copperfield, Queensland
DATE OF DEATH=5 November 1961
PLACE OF DEATH=Gympie, Queensland

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