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John Collings Willcock (Australian Labor Party)

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John Willcock20 August 1936 to 31 July 1945

John Willcock came to WA from NSW at age 18 to work on the Fremantle Harbour and then became an engine driver with the Government Railways. He was a committed Labor person and was president of the ALP's Geraldton District Council from 1914 to 1917.

He had a reputation for being a likeable, though quiet, man and achieved his desire to enter Parliament when he won the seat of Geraldton in 1917. He held the Police, Justice and Railways portfolios during the Collier government until its defeat in 1930. When the Labor government was returned to power in 1933, he resumed the Justice and Railways ministries.

On Collier's resignation (due to ill health) as Premier in 1936, Willcock was sworn in to replace him. He was Premier and Treasurer for nine years (and Minister for Forests for seven years) before resigning due to ill health in 1945.

One of his strengths was his ability to maintain sound relationships with his colleagues which was attributed to his disarming modesty.

In 1937, he represented the WA branch of the Empire Parliamentary Association at the coronation of Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

After his resignation he retired to the back benches of the Legislative Assembly and did not stand fro re-election at the poll of 1947.

Premier Willcock converted from being a Methodist to a Roman Catholic late in life and when he died was given a Requiem Mass and a State funeral.

 

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.