Albert George Ogilvie

Ogilvie's funeral procession through North Hobart, 1939 (AOT, PH30/1/3751)

Albert George Ogilvie (18901939), politician, was the son of a Hobart publican, born of ex-convict parents. Brought up in his mother's Catholicism, young Albert showed talent as athlete and scholar, graduating in law from the University of Tasmania. He proved adept in criminal cases, but also advised trade unions and in 1919 entered the House of Assembly as a Labor representative from Franklin.

A member of JA Lyons' cabinet from 1923, Ogilvie always sought to augment his personal power. In 1927 he suffered scandal resulting from dealings between his law firm and the Trust Office, under his ministerial direction. Lyons forced his retirement from Cabinet, but when the latter entered federal politics in late 1928, Ogilvie succeeded as Leader of the Opposition. His immediately subsequent performance was lacklustre, but he fought the 1934 campaign vigorously, and just won.

In office Ogilvie showed much more effective, being boosted further by a massive victory in 1937. He invigorated development of hydro-electricity and industrialisation, the local paper-making industry one consequence. A government medical system was chief among health reforms. All fees in government schools ceased, and area schools were established. Tourism ranked high among the premier's interests. Commonwealth aid further helped the economy. All this established the government as more positive than any precursor. European travels of 1935 and 1937 made Ogilvie hostile to fascism, and sympathetic to the USSR. Increasingly he urged armed preparedness for war. Possibly the man could have become a national leader, but for his sudden death in 1939.

Further reading: ADB 11.

Michael Roe