Phillip Collier

(1873 – 1948)

Robert Collier was a founding member of the Northcote Labor Party, having arrived in Northcote in the 1890s. He was campaign manager for both State and Federal elections as well as being the foreman at the local sewerage works. In 1900 he married Ellen Heagney, having four children together. In 1904 he left Northcote to work on the goldfields in Western Australia. Maintaining his Labor Party links he stood for the Seat of Boulder in 1905, successfully winning the seat.  He was to retain the seat until his retirement in 1947. In 1911 Collier became the Minister for Railways and Mining and when the Labor Party lost government Collier became the opposition leader in 1917. In 1924 Collier became the West Australian Premier, a position he was to hold until his electoral defeat in 1930. In 1933 he swept back into office with a huge swing. Collier was to remain Premier for another three years before resigning due to poor health.  He remained on the back bench almost until his death in 1948, having spent nearly 43 years in Parliament. One of Collier’s protégés was John Curtin, Prime Minister of Australia.

Pike, Douglas., Nairn, Bede., & Serle, Geoffrey (eds.) (1981). Australian Dictionary of Biography, Carlton, Vic: Melbourne University Press