Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Petitions part 15

The Politicians

James Munro (1832-1908)
James Munro was born in Scotland on 7 January 1832. On leaving school he was apprenticed to a printing firm. In 1858 James, his wife, Jane, and three children migrated to Australia.

In Melbourne, he initially worked in the printing trade until 1865 when he established the building society, Victorian Permanent Property Investment Trust. He also acquired controlling interest in a number of companies including Melbourne Woollen Mill Company.

James Munro was involved in many business transactions including coffee palaces such as the Federal Coffee Palace, the Grand Coffee Palace and the Victoria Coffee Palace. His business dealing became increasingly speculative during the 1880s and he was declared bankrupt in 1893.

In 1872 James Munro commenced his involvement in politics as a member of the local District Road Board. He was involved in State politics as a MLA from 1874 to 1892 and was Premier of Victoria from November 1890 until February 1892. He then went to London until the end of the year as Victorian Agent General.

Before leaving Scotland James Munro had joined the total abstinence movement. In Victoria he was an active member of a number of temperance organisations and in 1880 and 1888 was President of the International Temperance Conference held in Melbourne.

James Munro supported the movement for female suffrage and in 1891 encouraged the WCTU, in particular, in their campaign for women to have the right to vote. In September he presented the Monster Petition to the Legislative Assembly. The 1891 Constitution Amendment Bill included a clause relating to woman suffrage but the clause was removed after the second reading as there was insufficient support from the members of the house.

Members of the WCTU and the Victorian Alliance remained grateful to James Munro for his support in presenting the petition to parliament and supporting the suffrage cause. When left parliament and took up an appointment in England he was provided with a farewell testamonial evening by members of the temperance movement.

James Munro can be considered a man of contraditions - although a person with strong moral convictions he became involved with speculative business deals causing hardship for his family and other people with whom he was involved.
Munro Family grave - St Kilda Cemetery
 He died on the 25 February 1908 and was buried at St Kilda Cemetery.

Further information
Munro, James (1832-1908) - article from Australian Dictionary of Biography online edition
St Kilda biographies - The Wowser Munro (1832-1908)
James Munro - re-member: database of Victorian MPs since 1851

Dr William Robert Maloney (1854-1940)
William Maloney was born on 12 April 1854 at West Melbourne. In 1880 he studied medicine in London. He returned to Australia in 1887. In 1889 he was elected to parliament and spent the next 51 years as a Labor politician. One of the platforms that he supported was woman suffrage and from 1889 he regularly submitted bills in support of women obtaining the right to vote.

Dr Maloney continued to practice medicine and in 1896 established the North Melbourne District Medical Club to treat people in need. He was also a supporter of Mrs Bessie Smyth and her birth control campaign and her work with the Australian Women's Suffrage Society.
Dr Maloney died on 29 August 1940.

Further information
Maloney, William Robert (Nuttall) (1854 - 1940) - article from Australian Dictionary of Biography online edition
William Robert Nuttall Maloney - re-member: database of Victorian MPs since 1851

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