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John Scaddan (Labor) 7 October 1911 to 27 July 1916

John Scaddan went from being a Labor Premier to a Nationalist MLA during his parliamentary career.

He was born in South Australia and educated in Victoria. As a young man he worked as a miner in the Victorian Bendigo district. In 1896, he moved to WA - perhaps on the strength of the gold discoveries at Kalgoorlie. Scadden's entry was through his union membership - he became an Engine Drivers' Union member after qualifying as an engine driver while in Kalgoorlie.

He was elected Labor MLA for Ivanhoe in the Goldfields in 1904 and became leader of the party in 1910 when T.H. Bath retired. The following year saw Labor returned to power with an overwhelming majority and Scaddan, at just 35, formed his ministry. His government focused heavily on a policy of setting up State enterprises, including hotels, a State shipping service, brickworks, sawmills and buying up the Perth tramways. It also pushed to build homes for workers.

However, in 1916, Scaddan's government was defeated in the Lower House and was forced to resign when the Governor Sir Harry Barron refused a dissolution of Parliament. Scaddan, now Opposition leader, ultimately fell out with the Labor Party over conscription and left the party. The following year he accepted the position as Minister for Mines and Railways in the Sir Henry Lefroy Nationalist Ministry, but a month later lost his seat at the polls and resigned his protfolio.

Two years later he was appointed Colonial Secretary and Minister for Railways in Sir James Mitchell's government though he was not a member of Parliament at the time. Two weeks later he was successful in being elected to the seat of Albany. At the 1924 election he did not stand again for the seat and saw the defeat of the Mitchell government. It was six years on that he decided to re-enter Parliament as a Nationalist MLA for Maylands and he became Minister for Mines, Railways, Police, Forests and Industry in the new Mitchell government which was defeated three years later.

He was a member of the Perth Roads Board and its chairman from 1931 until his death in 1934.

The following year, aged 59, he died at Claremont and was buried at Karrakatta Cemetery.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.