Alfred McClelland

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Alfred McClelland (18 April 1886 – 29 January 1969) was an Australian politician. He was a Labor Party member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1920 until 1927, representing Northern Tablelands, and from 1930 to 1932, representing Dubbo. His son and grandson both went on to hold senior roles in federal politics, creating a rare three-generation political dynasty.


McClelland was born at Black Creek, near Nundle, and was educated at Nundle Public School. He worked as a shearer and bushworker after leaving school, and was active in local affairs, founding the Nundle League in 1902. He was appointed as an organiser with the Australian Workers' Union in 1914, and was an executive councillor and the vice-president of the union's Western branch from 1916 until his election to parliament at the 1920 election.[1]

McClelland twice attempted to enter state politics before his 1920 victory, losing to Labor-turned-Nationalist MLA George McDonald in Bingara at a 1916 by-election and again in 1917. In 1920, on his third attempt, he was elected as the sole Labor member in the multi-member electorate of Northern Tablelands. He was easily re-elected in 1922 and 1925, but faced a very difficult race in 1927. The multi-member system had been abolished, and McClelland had chosen to contest the newly recreated seat of Armidale, which saw him challenged by prominent Country Party MLA David Drummond; Drummond won the seat in a landslide. He achieved a brief political comeback in 1930, winning newly recreated Dubbo, but lost it to the Country Party's George Wilson in the Labor defeat of 1932. McClelland again contested the seat in 1935, but was defeated, and did not run for public office again.[2]

McClelland became a farmer at Northmead after leaving politics.

His son, Doug McClelland, was a Senator from 1962 to 1987, and was a minister in the Whitlam government.[3] His grandson, Robert McClelland, was federal Attorney-General from 2007 to 2011.[4]


Alfred McClelland died in Sydney in 1969 January 29, 1969(1969-01-29) (aged 82), and was cremated at Rookwood Cemetery.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Mr Alfred McClelland (1886-1969)". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  2. ^ Green, Antony. "Indx to candidates:McCaughey to McKeever". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  3. ^ Stevenson, Brian (2017). "McClelland, Douglas (1926– )". The Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  4. ^ "The Hon Robert McClelland MP". Australian Parliament House. Retrieved 14 October 2019.


New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
New seat
Member for Northern Tablelands (multi-member)
1920 – 1927
Served alongside: Bruxner, Drummond
Succeeded by
Seat abolished
Preceded by
Seat recreated
Member for Dubbo
1930 – 1932
Succeeded by
George Wilson