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For other people named George Pearce, see George Pearce (disambiguation).
The Honourable
Sir George Pearce
Sir George Pearce.jpg
Senator for Western Australia
In office
29 March 1901 – 30 June 1938
Personal details
Born (1870-01-14)14 January 1870
Mount Barker, South Australia
Died 24 June 1952(1952-06-24) (aged 82)
Elwood, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Political party Labor (1901–17)
Nationalist (1917–31)
UAP (1931–38)
Spouse(s) Eliza Maud Barrett
Occupation Carpenter

Sir George Foster Pearce KCVO (14 January 1870 – 24 June 1952) was an Australian politician who was instrumental in founding the Australian Labor Party in Western Australia.

Pearce, a carpenter, was born in Mount Barker, South Australia, to James Pearce (c. 1833 – 17 April 1919),[1] a Cornish Australian,[2] whose brother Charles Pearce (1826–1908) was MHA for East Torrens 1868–1870. He was educated at Red Hill Public School until he was 11, then worked on farms and later became a carpenter in Adelaide, but lost that job in the depression of 1891 and moved to Western Australia. He joined the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners and soon became heavily involved in the union movement. In April 1897 he married Eliza Maud Barrett.[3]

Political career[edit]

In 1893, Pearce helped found the Progressive Political League, a precursor to the West Australian branch of the ALP. Self-educated in politics and economics, in 1901 he was elected to the first Commonwealth Parliament as a Senator for Western Australia. He narrowly missed out on being a member of the first Labor Party Cabinet when Chris Watson became Prime Minister in 1904. In 1908, he became Minister for Defence in the Cabinet of Andrew Fisher. He oversaw the foundation of the naval college at Jervis Bay and Royal Military College, Duntroon. In 1914 Australia entered World War I. Upon Billy Hughes' ascension as Prime Minister, Pearce was named Deputy Leader of the party.[3]

By this time, Australia's prosecution of the war made the introduction of conscription an intensely divisive issue for the ALP. Pearce was convinced of the necessity of introducing conscription, but the majority of his party did not agree. Pearce, along with many other of the party's founding members, subsequently followed Hughes out of the party and into the new "National Labor Party." A few months later, the National Labor Party merged with the Commonwealth Liberal Party to form the Nationalist Party, with Hughes as its leader.[3]

For much of 1916, Prime Minister Hughes was out of the country as a member of the Imperial war cabinet. During this time, over seven months, Pearce was acting prime minister, and the last person to rule for any length of time from the Senate.

Most of the defectors to the Nationalists subsequently faded into obscurity, but Pearce went on to have a successful career in the party of his erstwhile opponents. After Hughes was deposed as Nationalist leader, Pearce accepted a position in the ministry of Hughes' successor and rival, Stanley Bruce. He became the inaugural Father of the Senate in 1923. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) in 1927.[4] In 1932, Pearce joined the newly formed United Australia Party, and served as a minister in the government of Joseph Lyons until his defeat at the 1937 election (his term ended in June 1938). He was a Senator for 37 years and three months, a record term. His total service as a minister was 24 years and seven months, also a record in the Australian Parliament. At the time of his death, he was the last surviving member of the Senate of the first Australian Parliament.[3]

Pearce died at home in the Melbourne suburb of Elwood, survived by two sons and two daughters.[3] RAAF Base Pearce, the Electoral Division of Pearce and the Canberra suburb of Pearce are named after him.


  1. ^ "Obituary". The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser (SA : 1880 - 1954) (SA: National Library of Australia). 18 April 1919. p. 2. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  2. ^ Payton, Philip. The Cornish Overseas, 2005.
  3. ^ a b c d e Beddie, B. (1988). "Pearce, Sir George Foster (1870 - 1952)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  4. ^ It's an Honour: KCVO

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
New title Senator for Western Australia
Succeeded by
Robert Ernest Clothier
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Ewing
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
Joseph Cook
Preceded by
Joseph Cook
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
Edward Millen
Preceded by
Edward Millen
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
Walter Massy-Greene
Preceded by
Alexander Poynton
Minister for Home and Territories
Succeeded by
William Glasgow
Preceded by
Llewellyn Atkinson
Vice-President of the Executive Council
Succeeded by
John Daly
Preceded by
Ben Chifley
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
Archdale Parkhill
Preceded by
John Latham
Minister for External Affairs
Succeeded by
Billy Hughes
Preceded by
Harry Lawson
Minister in charge of Territories
Party political offices
Preceded by
Billy Hughes
Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party
Succeeded by
Albert Gardiner
Preceded by
Gregor McGregor
Leader of the Australian Labor Party in the Senate
New political party Leader of the National Labor Party in the Senate
Defunct political party
Preceded by
Edward Millen
Leader of the Nationalist Party in the Senate
Defunct political party
New political party Leader of the United Australia Party in the Senate
Succeeded by
Alexander McLachlan

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Pearce — Please support Wikipedia.
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130772 videos foundNext > 

Al Goll, Michael Kelsh & George Pearce: "Fireball Mail" on The "Viva! NashVegas® Radio Show"

Al Goll, "Mr. Dobro!" Engineers a Musical JoyRide on "Fireball Mail" w/ Michael Kelsh (Guitar) & George Pearce (Mandolin) on The World-Famous "Viva!

George Pearce Dancingg

More of George, i mean hanny .

george pearce bay 66 unit 1

george pearce- skateboarding at bayy 66 ( the darker ramps) and then skateboarding at unit 1 (the lighter ramps) i am going to make a bigger extended video of ...

Oliver George Pearce kieradan park 26/05/2013

Ollie takes out the Travis rockstar Suzuki 2banger braaaaap.

Deep House Mix (Justin Martin, Dusky, Maya Jane Coles, Ben Pearce, George Fitzgerald ect.)

Track list below. My first recorded set. Only been mixing on my digital controller for 3 days and would appreciate any feedback. I apologise for the messed up ...

Tris Pearce speaks at the 2015 Badger Trust Conference about the late George Pearce.

via YouTube Capture.

Pearce's Poke Platter Please

George Pearce performing with the Blue Wave.

Ben Pearce - Pale Ale - Moda Black Vol II

Click here to subscribe: http://smarturl.it/ModaBlack Ben Pearce - Pale Ale - Moda Black Vol II. Buy on iTunes: http://bit.ly/ModaBlackVol2iTunes Buy on Amazon: ...

Dave Pearce - Let's Get High (I've Got The Fever)

Debut single from Dave Pearce. LISTEN:https://soundcloud.com/dave-george-pearce WEBSITE:https://www.facebook.com/davepearcemusic.

The X Factor 2009 - Daniel Pearce - Judges' houses 1 (itv.com/xfactor)

The X Factor 2009: Having been through a similar process before, has Daniel still got what it takes to win?... See more at http://www.itv.com/xfactor.

130772 videos foundNext > 

90 news items

North Devon Journal

North Devon Journal
Thu, 01 Oct 2015 01:48:45 -0700

... hard at the breakdown, Barnstaple's power runners knocked Teignmouth back in the second half. Tom Chapman went in for a score then Ellis Rees shrugged off a tackle to score in the corner, ending a move involving Joe Sigatolu, Watt and George Pearce.
Wanganui Chronicle
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 22:03:45 -0700

Fordell School teams excelled at the recent Wanganui Mathex competitions and principal Phil Walker says he is delighted with their success and with the effectiveness of the school's maths programme. Teams at the competition had 30 minutes to answer 20 ...

Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald
Thu, 17 Sep 2015 01:15:00 -0700

Her grandfather, Sir George Pearce, coincidentally had brought down the legislation founding the RAAF in 1921. Together with his two surviving brothers, he began sheep farming in north-east Victoria. In 1960 he took an appointment as head of the School ...

North Devon Journal

North Devon Journal
Thu, 17 Sep 2015 02:33:45 -0700

Rees also had a hand in the try of the match when he offloaded to flying full-back George Pearce who raced half the length of the field to score under the posts. Finding their rhythm, the Barum forwards won the scraps off the floor and, after a ...

Newark Advertiser

Newark Advertiser
Thu, 17 Sep 2015 06:34:02 -0700

Richard Willat scored four for Walesby and George Pearce, Charlie Wormald and Wayne O'Hare were also on the scoresheet. Luke Walters and Tom McGee netted for Muskham. Evolution held firm against a strong AFC Farnsfield to earn a point in a 1-1 draw ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Wed, 08 Jul 2015 11:11:15 -0700

'By deciding that the licence fee will be used to fund welfare payments, the move takes the BBC another dangerous step closer to becoming just another government department, with all that implies for its editorial independence,' writes Phil Harding.


Thu, 23 Apr 2015 19:00:05 -0700

... intoxicated Martha (Catharine Slusar) invites up-and-coming biology professor Nick (Jake Blouch) and his wife Honey (Emilie Krause) to join her and her husband George (Pearce Bunting)—a stalled forty-something associate professor of history–for ...

The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph
Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:52:52 -0700

REACH FOR THE SKIES. Federal defence minister Senator George Pearce had proposed an Australian Aviation Corps in January 1911, and recruited British lieutenants Henry Petre and Australian-born Eric Harrison as Australia's first flying instructors.

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