• Letter from Premier Edward Theodore concerning Queensland’s agricultural industry and the State election

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    State Library Qld
Letter from Premier Edward Theodore

The son of poor migrant parents from Rumania, Edward Granville Theodore worked on farms and timber-getting in South Australia before trying his luck on the Western Australian goldfields in 1900.  By 1903 he was working at Broken Hill where he gained first-hand knowledge of labour politics, which he used to great effect after moving to North Queensland three years later.  In 1907 he was co-founder and the inaugural secretary of the Amalgamated Workers’ Union.  A militant unionist, Theodore was elected Labor member for Woothakata in 1909 and moved swiftly through the party ranks. When Labor gained office in 1915 Theodore was Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Secretary for Public Works, and after Thomas Ryan resigned as Premier in 1919 to enter Federal politics, he was succeeded by Theodore. The new Premier adhered to the original policies of his party, particularly as they related to the establishment of small-scale agricultural enterprises as a means of development.  Partly through the financial blockade engineered by political opponents, Labor’s ‘agrarian revolution’ failed to achieve its intended goals and in 1925 Theodore followed Ryan’s example by standing down to enter Federal politics.  Although he became Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer in 1929, allegations of corrupt dealings while serving in the Queensland Parliament shadowed his subsequent political career.  Theodore’s enlightened economic measures to improve the economy were never fully grasped by his Labor colleagues and after losing his seat in December 1931, Theodore embarked on a successful career in business.  He died in Sydney in 1950.


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