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 Paterson

Alexander Paterson (1844-1908)

Member for Capricornia (Queensland) 1901-1903

Alexander Paterson was born at Greenoch, Scotland. On the completion of his education, Paterson joined a shipping firm and became a branch manager. He spent time in Spain and London before ill health forced his migration to Victoria in 1875. Between 1877 and 1889 Paterson worked at and established a number of stores in Queensland and Victoria, and as an accountant settled in Rockhampton, Queensland. He was manager of the Central Meat Export Company for ten years.

In 1901 Paterson was elected to represent the federal seat of Capricornia in the House of Representatives at the first federal election. A supporter of free trade, Paterson was the only member of the first parliament elected as an Independent.  He was a member of the Select Committee on Decimal Coinage in 1901 and did not stand for re-election in 1903.

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