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26 February 1877 Sir Henry Barwell

 26 February 1877   Sir Henry Barwell

Henry Barwell was born in Adelaide on 26 February 1877. He was educated at Whinham College, St Peter's College and the University of Adelaide, where he gained a law degree. He practised law in Clare and Port Pirie before entering parliament in 1915.

 In April 1920 the Premier, Archibald Peake died suddenly. Barwell, the Attorney-General, was summoned to Government House and asked to form a government. He served as Premier and Attorney-General until 1924. He was instrumental in appointing W.A. Webb, an American railways expert, as Railways Commissioner. Webb modernised the South Australian railways, and the diesel railcars he imported became known as 'Barwell Bulls'. He was knighted in 1922.

The Liberal Government was defeated in the 1924 election. In 1925 Barwell was elected to the Senate, but resigned in 1928 to become South Australia's Agent-General in London. While in England he was instrumental in arranging for young boys to come to Australia to be indentured to farmers, to help solve the labour shortage after the First World War. The scheme was shortlived, but the boys who were sent were known as Barwell's boys.

On his return to South Australia he served as Deputy Chairman of the Housing Trust, and on the boards of the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science and the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Barwell was regarded as a brilliant orator and clever advocate. He died at his Unley Park home on 10 September 1959.

Bede Nairn, Geoffrey Serle, Australian Dictionary of Biography,
Volume 7.

The Advertiser, 8 April 1920, p.7; 1 October 1959, p. 3; 2 October 1959, p. 4

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