John Earle


John Earle (AOT, PH30/1/9975)

John Earle (18651932), politician, miner, bookshop owner, was born at Bridgewater, and became a trade unionist while working as a miner on the west coast. In 1903 he became president of the first Tasmanian Labor Conference, and in 1906 was elected to the House of Assembly for Waratah. In 1909 he formed Tasmania's first Labor government which lasted a mere seven days, though his next government lasted two years, from 1914 to 1916. Earle was pragmatic and, perhaps, lacking in zeal. Frustrated legislatively by the upper house, burdened by the economic disruption and financial strictures of wartime, his achievements as Premier were modest. Electoral defeat and his own defection to the conscriptionist cause destroyed Earle's reputation in the Labor movement. Joining the Nationalist party, he sat in the Senate from 1917 to 1922.

Further reading: ADB 8.

Peter Fagan