John Cameron McPhee

Tasmania's Executive Council 1933, with McPhee left (AOT, PH30/1/146)

John Cameron McPhee (18781952), businessman and politician, was born in Victoria. In 1908 he moved to Hobart where he ran a business college, established an office equipment company, became co-proprietor of the Huon Times and held several directorships. He was an Anglican lay reader and a member of Synod.

Supported by temperance interests, McPhee held the state Denison seat as a Nationalist from 1919 until 1934, leading the Party into government in 1928. A teetotaller and non-smoker, his personal austerity suited the times and he was the sole Australian premier to triumph electorally during the Depression. Economically conservative, he favoured free enterprise with minimal government control rather than state industrial ownership. McPhee resigned in 1934, and was knighted. He returned to politics in 1941, finally retiring in 1946 to concentrate on business and charitable interests.

Further reading: ADB 10; S Bennett & B Bennett, Biographical register of the Tasmanian parliament, 18511960, Canberra, 1980.

Wendy Rimon