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

William Knox

William Knox (1850-1913)

Member for Kooyong (Victoria) 1901-1910

Born in Melbourne, Victoria, William Knox was a successful businessman involved extensively in the mining industry. He was secretary of the Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd from 1885 to 1893 and remained on the board until 1910. He became the managing director of the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Co. Ltd in 1893, and was involved with many other successful ventures. Knox was a member of the Victorian Legislative Council 1898-1901.

In 1901 Knox, a Freetrader, was elected to represent the electoral division of Kooyong in the House of Representatives. Knox moved from a free trade to a protectionist position and was unwavering in his opposition to Labor. A low-key member of the first Parliament, he made valuable contributions to debates on arrangements for state and federal finances. Knox resigned his seat in 1910 owing to ill health. He is remembered for his successful motion on the first day of sitting of the House of Representatives that each sitting begin with prayers.

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