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

Alexander Perceval Matheson

Alexander Perceval Matheson (1861-1929)

Senator for Western Australia 1901-1906

Alexander Matheson was born in Mayfair, London, England and migrated to Western Australia in 1894. A commercial businessman and financier, Matheson was a member of the Western Australian Legislative Council and was involved in the goldfields reform movement. As President of the Eastern Goldfields Reform League he helped bring Western Australia into federation.

In 1901 Matheson was elected to represent Western Australia in the Senate at the first federal election. Matheson believed in absolute free trade and was sympathetic towards many Labor Party policies. Matheson resigned at the end of his six-year term and returned to England. He succeeded his brother as the Baronet of Lochalsh in 1920 and soon afterwards moved to New Zealand as correspondent for The Times.

Matheson’s three sons were killed in action in World War I.

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