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

Sir John Langdon Bonython

Sir John Langdon Bonython (1848-1939)

Member for South Australia 1901-1903,
Barker (South Australia) 1903-1906

Born in London, England, John Langdon Bonython arrived in South Australia in 1854. He joined the Advertiser (Adelaide) as a reporter in 1864 and became editor in 1879, a position he held for 45 years. He became sole proprietor of the newspaper in 1893. Bonython promoted the cause of federation through the Advertiser, but was vigilant of the rights of smaller states such as South Australia in the federal alliance.
Bonython was elected to represent South Australia in the House of Representatives at the first federal election in 1901. Bonython favoured protection policies and played a part in the Commonwealth taking over the administration of the Northern Territory. He was elected unopposed to the seat of Barker in 1903, but did not stand for election in 1906. He sat on a number of committees and royal commissions.

A man well-known for his generosity, especially towards educational institutions, Bonython donated large sums of his vast fortune to various causes. Bonython sold the Advertiser in 1929 for £1 250 000 and upon his death in 1939 his estate was sworn for probate at over £4 million. He was twice knighted, first in 1898 for services to the newspaper industry, and again in 1919 for his services to the Commonwealth.

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