James Fowler (Australian politician)

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James Fowler
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Perth
In office
29 March 1901 – 16 December 1922
Preceded byNew division
Succeeded byEdward Mann
Personal details
Born(1863-06-20)20 June 1863
Strathaven, Scotland
Died3 November 1940(1940-11-03) (aged 77)
Melbourne, Victoria
NationalityScottish Australian
Political partyLabor (1901–09)
Liberal (1909–17)
Nationalist (1917–22)
Spouse(s)Daisy Winifred Bastow

James Mackinnon Fowler (20 June 1863 – 3 November 1940) was an Australian politician who served as a member of the House of Representatives from 1901 to 1922, representing the Division of Perth. He began his career in the Australian Labor Party (ALP), but joined the Liberal Party in 1909 and then the Nationalist Party in 1917.

Early life[edit]

Fowler was born in Strathaven, South Lanarkshire, Scotland and educated at local schools and the Glasgow Athenaeum. He migrated to Australia in 1891 and was a foundation member of the Victorian Socialist League, but moved to Perth in 1898. That year he married Daisy Winifred Bastow—they had a daughter and three sons.[1]


Fowler was a leading supporter of federation and was elected at the first federal election in 1901 to the seat of Perth, representing the Australian Labor Party and was active on financial matters. He was a strong opponent of Billy Hughes within the party. In 1909, Fowler left the party claiming that it can become too centralising, although others suggested it was because of his failure to gain a portfolio. He joined the Commonwealth Liberal Party, remaining with that party until it was folded into the Nationalist Party when it was established in 1916 under Hughes' leadership.[1] He served as chairman of committees from 1913 to 1914 during the Cook Government.[2]

In 1919 Fowler published an attack on Hughes—who was now Prime Minister —and continued to oppose him, particularly in relation to his support for high tariffs. Due in part to this, Fowler lost Nationalist endorsement at the 1922 election and lost his seat to fellow Nationalist Edward Mann. According to The Bulletin in 1921, he could have "achieved Ministerial rank long ago if he hadn't been such a good hater".[1]

Later life[edit]

Fowler moved to Melbourne and wrote on his goldfield experiences and on political matters, such as the dangers of Asian immigration. He died in Melbourne, survived by his wife.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d de Garis, B. K. (1981). "Fowler, James Mackinnon (1863 - 1940)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 18 February 2008 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  2. ^ "Appendix 3—Deputy Speakers". House of Representatives Practice (7th ed.). Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
Parliament of Australia
New division Member for Perth
Succeeded by
Edward Mann