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Allan, John (1866–1936)

The death of Mr. John Allan, M.L.A., a former Premier of Victoria, occurred at his home, Kilmarnock, Wyuna South, at 5.45 p.m. on Saturday. Mr. Allan, who was aged 69 years, had been ill since shortly before Christmas. He will be given a State funeral to-day, the procession leaving his home at 2.30 p.m. for the Kyabram Cemetery. Cars will leave Parliament House at 10 a.m.

Born at Deep Creek, near Romsey, in 1866, Mr. Allan was the son of the late Mr. Andrew Allan, a farmer at Romsey, and he was trained for a farming life. He settled at Wyuna South near Kyabram. His interest in irrigation was always keen, and soon after its formation he became a member of the Rodney Waterworks Trust, upon which he served for many years.

Mr. Allan was always keenly interested in the advancement of the status of the primary producer, and he played a leading part in the formation of the Victorian Farmers' Union, which, as a political organisation, became the Victorian Country Party about the middle of the war. He was selected to stand in its interests at the general election in 1917, when he defeated the retiring Nationalist member for the State electorate of Rodney. Although opposed at nearly every succeeding election, he retained the seat on each occasion.

Upon his entry into the State Parliament, Mr. Allan was immediately elected as leader of the Country party, a position which he held without opposition for many years. In Parliament Mr. Allan won respect as a vigorous debater. He was forceful and logical rather than brilliant, but he possessed the capacity for clear expression.

Mr. Allan gained his first Ministerial experience in a composite Ministry led by Mr. H. S. W. (now Sir Harry) Lawson in 1923, in which he was Minister for Lands, Water Supply, and Migration, but the coalition failed after a few months. On the defeat of the Labour Ministry led by Mr. Prendergast in 1924 on a no confidence motion which he moved, Mr Allan accepted a commission to form a Ministry. With the co-operation of the Nationalist party, a composite Ministry, of which Mr. Allan was Premier and Sir Alexander Peacock was Treasurer, was formed. He held office until 1927.

Mr. Allan was Premier of Victoria during the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York to Australia to open the Federal Parliament at Canberra. Mr Allan resigned the leadership of the Country party in June 1933.

Mr Allan was keenly interested in municipal politics, and was a member of the Deakin Shire Council for more than 30 years. He was a member of the central council of the Country party from its inception until 1931, when it was decided that Parliamentary members should be excluded.

Mr Allan leaves a widow, who was formerly Miss Stewart, member of a well known family in the Kyabram district; four sons, Messrs. Andrew, John, Roy, and Gordon Allan, all of Wyuna South; two daughters, Mrs. C. Hunt, of Merrigum, and Mrs. Charles Berhendt, of Melbourne; two brothers, Mr. James Allan, of Murrumbeena, and Mr Robert Allan, of Dubbo (NSW) and four sisters, Mrs Downey, of Kyabram; Mrs. Sly, of Malvern; Mrs. McDonald, of Malvern; and Mrs. Shannon, of Camberwell.

The arrangements for the funeral today will be made by Messrs. G. H. Bishop and Co., of Kyabram.

Tributes to Mr. Allan

The Premier (Mr. Dunstan) said that he had heard with deep regret of Mr. Allan's death. In his various spheres of activity Mr. Allan had given distinguished service to Victoria. He was a man with a keen and practical knowledge who not only succeeded in public life but was also eminently successful as a farmer. The respect which he had earned from those who knew him grew with the years, and he retained the confidence of the people as a public man to the end of his life.

The leader of the Opposition (Sir Stanley Argyle) said:- "I very deeply regret the death of Mr Allan and extend sympathy to his bereaved family I must express my appreciation of his services to the State in Parliament. He served in several Ministries and was a loyal colleague in my Ministry. One could not help admiring his courage on all forms of political controversy and his devotion to all country interests and the interests of the State generally. His death is a great loss to Victoria."

The leader of the Labour party (Mr. Tunnecliffe said:- "A genial and kindly personality commended Mr. Allan to all who knew him. No public man had fewer enemies or a wider circle of friends. His sense of humour served him as a shield and buckler during his Parliamentary career. He will be greatly missed and my sympathy goes out to his family."

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'Allan, John (1866–1936)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/allan-john-4995/text24021, accessed 21 October 2019.

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