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

John Ferguson

John Ferguson (1830-1906)

Senator for Queensland 1901-1903

Born at Kenmore, in Perthshire, Scotland, John Ferguson migrated to New South Wales in 1855. A carpenter by trade, Ferguson spent time on the New South Wales and Victorian goldfields before moving to Rockhampton where he became wealthy through his shares in the Mount Morgan mine. He was a member of the Rockhampton Municipal Council 1878-90, and was Mayor of Rockhampton 1880-81 and 1882-83. He was a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly 1881-88 and Legislative Council 1894-1906.

In 1901 Ferguson was elected as a Freetrader to represent Queensland in the Senate at the first federal election. He was absent overseas during the lead-up to the election and did not return to Australia until after the poll. Ferguson attended only 95 of the 232 sitting days from 9 May 1901 to 13 October 1903. On the latter date his seat was declared vacant owing to his absence without leave for two consecutive months. He is the only senator to have lost his seat in this fashion.

Ferguson continued to hold his Queensland Legislative Council seat while serving in the Commonwealth Parliament.

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