Commonwealth of Australia Coat of Arms
For Peace, Order and Good Government: The first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia
Early proposals
Six colonies
Drafting a constitution
Declaration of the Commonwealth
Conducting the first Federal election
Who could vote?
The election campaign
9 May 1901
The royal visit
The first federal parliamentarians
Ministry of May, 1901
Edmund Barton
Political parties
Legislative program
Relationship between the houses

Members of the First Parliament

Egerton Lee Batchelor

Egerton Lee Batchelor (1865-1911)

Member for South Australia 1901-1903,
Boothby (South Australia) 1903-1911

Born in Adelaide, South Australia, Egerton Lee Batchelor trained as a teacher before becoming an engine-fitter. A member of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers while still in his teens, Batchelor was a leader of the early labour movement in South Australia, holding office on the Trades and Labor Council from 1889, and playing an important part in the formation of the United Labor Party in 1891. He was elected to the House of Assembly as the Labor member for West Adelaide in 1893, and held his seat until 1901. Moderate in his approach, he became Minister for Education and Agriculture in F.W. Holder’s non-Labor ministry.

In 1901 Batchelor was the only Labor member elected to represent South Australia in the House of Representatives at the first federal election. From 1903 he represented the electorate of Boothby. A respected figure in the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, Batchelor was a member of the Labor ministries of Watson and Fisher. Always a reformer and liberal thinker, Batchelor, as Minister for External Affairs, took over responsibility for the Northern Territory in 1911, claiming that “the treatment of the natives formed the blackest page in Australian history.”

Batchelor died suddenly while climbing Mt Donna Buang in Victoria in October 1911. He was still a member of the House of Representatives.

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