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Sir Albert John Gould

Leslie Andrew Alexander Wilkie (1878-1935), Albert John Gould (detail), 1914, Historic Memorials Collection, Parliament House Art Collection. View full image

President, 20 February 1907 to 30 June 1910
Free Trade Party, 1901 to 1906;
Anti-Socialist Party, 1906 to 1913;
Liberal Party (Commonwealth), 1913 to 1917;
Nationalist Party, 1917

Albert Gould (1847-1936) was a lawyer and businessman who made his fortune from copper mining before his election to the NSW Parliament and then the Senate. Born in Sydney in 1847, Gould attended Rev Dr William Woolls’s school at Parramatta and began studying law at the University of Sydney before completing his legal training with his solicitor father.

Gould joined the NSW volunteer military forces as a private in 1865, attaining the rank of lieutenant-colonel by the time of his retirement in 1902. Later, as a senator, Gould maintained a keen interest in defence, conscious of the challenge of defending a geographically large country with a sparse population, and arguing that conscription was an essential responsibility of nationhood.1

Admitted to the bar in 1870, Gould began his working life as a solicitor in Singleton. He married Jeannette Jessie Maitland in 1872, with whom he had six children, and established his own practice with offices in Singleton and Sydney in 1887.2 During this period, Gould became a freemason and chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle (1888), later becoming the chancellor of the Sydney Diocese (1905).

Elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly (1882–98), Gould served as Minister for Justice (1889-91 and 1894- 98) under NSW Premiers Henry Parkes and George Reid. Following Gould’s defeat at the 1898 election, Reid appointed him to the NSW Legislative Council (1899-1901).3 Although Gould supported Federation, he opposed the 1898 Commonwealth Constitution Bill containing the draft Constitution, believing that it disadvantaged NSW.4 Nevertheless, at the first federal election in 1901 he stood as a Free Trader candidate and was elected to represent NSW in the Senate.5

A founding member of the Standing Orders Committee, which drafted the rules under which the Senate would operate, Gould was unanimously elected President in 1907 on the retirement of his predecessor, Richard Baker.6 He was diligent in ensuring that Senate proceedings were orderly and that standing orders were observed, adamant that they were ‘not to be abused, but to be used’.7 To this end, as President he stressed that senators should refrain from using unparliamentary language and that answers to questions should be relevant to the question.8

Despite losing the presidency after the election of the Labor government in 1910, Gould remained in the Senate for another seven years. Although he believed that the Senate should remain the states’ House, he argued that senators should always act in the best interests of the nation, urging them ‘to have the manliness to stand up for the faith that is in them’ and not be subject to party politics.9 After retiring from the Senate, Gould devoted himself to his considerable business, charitable and church interests. He died in 1936 and was honoured with a state funeral.10

Leslie Andrew Alexander Wilkie
Artist and curator Leslie Wilkie (1878-1935) was born and raised in Melbourne. From 1896 to 1901, he attended the National Gallery of Victoria Art School under Bernard Hall and was a prize-winner in 1900. Following the completion of his first major full-length portrait commission in 1903, he travelled to Europe for further study. He returned to Melbourne in 1905, working briefly as an art critic for the Age newspaper. In 1906 Wilkie was elected to the Victorian Artists’ Society and became the deputy at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School. Throughout World War I, Wilkie sold pictures and painted banners to support the Australian Red Cross Society. He continued to exhibit regularly and in 1926 he was appointed curator of the Art Gallery of SA, a position he held until 1934. In 1930, he was elected to the Royal Drawing Society, London, and went on to become president of the SA Society of Artists in 1932. Wilkie’s paintings are held in the collections of leading state and national institutions across Australia.11

Albert John Gould
by Leslie Andrew Alexander Wilkie
Oil on canvas
227.5 x 135 cm
Historic Memorials Collection, Parliament House Art Collection

1. Unless otherwise noted, information is sourced from WG McMinn, ‘Gould, Sir Albert John (1847–1936)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1983; G Gould, ‘Gould, Sir Albert John (1847–1936)’, The Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate Online Edition, Department of the Senate, Parliament of Australia, published first in hardcopy 2000. Websites accessed 27 May 2021.
2. ‘Sir Albert John Gould (1847–1936)’, Parliament of NSW, accessed 27 May 2021; McMinn, op. cit.; G Gould, op. cit.
3. Ibid.
4. ‘Members of the first Parliament: Albert John Gould (1847–1936)’, For Peace, Order and Good Government: The first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, accessed 27 May 2021; McMinn, op. cit.
5. G Gould, op. cit.
6. Ibid.
7. A Gould, ‘Adjournment: Federal Capital’, Senate, Debates, 12 December 1905, p. 6650.
8. G Gould, op. cit.
9. A Gould, ‘Conciliation and Arbitration Bill: Second reading’, Senate, Debates, 20 October 1904, p. 5835; A Gould, ‘National Regiments’, Senate, Debates, 21 November 1912, p. 5783; G Gould, op. cit.
10. McMinn, op. cit.; G Gould, op. cit.
11. ‘Wilkie, Leslie Andrew’, A McCulloch, S McCulloch and E McCulloch Childs, eds, The New McCulloch’s Encyclopedia of Australian Art, Aus Art Editions in association with The Miegunyah Press, 2006, p. 1024; J McGrath, ‘Wilkie, Leslie Andrew Alexander (1878–1935)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1990; ‘Leslie Andrew Wilkie’, State Library of South Australia. Websites accessed 28 April 2021.

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