Simon Fraser (Australian politician)

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Sir Simon Fraser
Sir Simon Fraser.jpg
Senator for Victoria
In office
29 March 1901 – 30 June 1913
Personal details
Born (1832-08-21)21 August 1832[1]
Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada
Died 30 July 1919(1919-07-30) (aged 86)
Melbourne, Australia
Nationality Canadian
Political party Protectionist (1901–06)
Anti-Socialist (1906–09)
Liberal (1909–13)
Spouse(s) Margaret Bolger (1865–80)
Anne Collins (1885–1919)
Relations Malcolm Fraser (grandson)
Children 2 daughter, 3 sons
Occupation Contractor, grazier

Sir Simon Fraser, Sr. (21 August 1832 – 30 July 1919)[1] was an Australian politician, who was a member of the Australian Senate.

Early life

Fraser was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada,[1] the son of a Scottish timber miller and farmer. When he was 21, in 1852, he emigrated to the goldfields of Victoria in search of his fortune.[1] After a time prospecting in Bendigo, he became a contractor, soon moving into railways and becoming, by the 1870s, a wealthy man.

Political and professional career

One of his more notable contracts was to supply ballast to the Deniliquin and Moama Railway Company, a privately owned railway which connected Moama on the Murray River to Deniliquin in southern New South Wales. Instead of supplying blue metal, Fraser supplied quartz from the slag heaps of Bendigo gold mines. It met the specifications of the contract, but was not what was expected by the owners of the railway.

Fraser bought extensive estates in the Western District of Victoria and became a leader of the wealthy wool-growing class known as squatters. He was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly for the seat of Rodney in 1876, which he held until 1883. In 1886 he was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council, the traditional preserve of the squatters, representing South Yarra Province, and remained a member until 1901. He was a Minister without Portfolio from 1890 to 1892. He was a Victorian delegate to the 1894 Colonial Conference in Ottawa, and a member of the Constitutional Convention which drafted the Australian Constitution.

In 1901, following the federation of the Australian colonies, Fraser was elected as one of the first six Victorian members of the Australian Senate, remaining a senator until his retirement in 1913. When elected he was a supporter of prime minister Edmund Barton's Protectionist Party, but he was not favourable to Barton's more liberal successor, Alfred Deakin, and sat as an independent conservative until 1909, when he joined Deakin's new Commonwealth Liberal Party, although belonging to its conservative wing. He was awarded a knighthood in 1918, becoming Sir Simon Fraser.[1]

Personal life and death

Fraser married Margaret Bolger in 1862 and had two daughters. Following her death in 1880, he married Anne Collins in 1885 and had three sons with her. One of these, (John) Neville Fraser, inherited Simon Fraser's property at Balpool in the Riverina district of New South Wales, where the future Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (1975–83) grew up. Another son, Simon, was a champion footballer and rowed for Australia in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Simon died just two months before his father, aged 32.

Fraser died of bronchitis on 30 July 1919, aged 87, in Melbourne. He was survived by his wife, Anne, a daughter and two sons.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Hawkins, Freda (1991). Critical Years in Immigration: Canada and Australia Compared. Toronto, Canada: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 116. ISBN 0-7735-0852-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Fraser, Sir Simon (1832–1919) Obituaries Australia. Retrieved 5 October 2013]

External links