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Ball, Richard Thomas (1857–1937)

Richard Ball, by Sam Wood, 1930s

Richard Ball, by Sam Wood, 1930s

State Library of New South Wales, DG ON4/5266

Mr. Richard Thomas Ball, member for Corowa in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, and "Father of the House," died in Sydney on Saturday. He was 80.

A State funeral will be held to-day.

As Minister for Works, Mr. Ball was responsible for passing through Parliament the Act authorising the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and signed the contract for its erection. He also turned the first sod and laid the foundation corner-stone of the bridge on the south side of the harbour.

Mr. Ball was a member of the State Parliament for 36 years, a record which, it is thought, no other man has achieved. He entered Parliament in 1895 as the representative for Albury, and held the seat until 1898. He represented Corowa from 1904 until 1920, Murray from 1920 until 1927, and Corowa from 1927 until his death.

He was Minister for Works and Railways in the Holman Government, 1916-1920, Minister for Agriculture in the Fuller Government, 1922, Minister for Works and Railways and State Undertakings from 1922 until 1925, and Minister for Lands in the Bavin Government from 1927 until 1930.

Mr. Ball was born in Sydney in the year his parents came from Devonshire and settled at Rooty Hill, New South Wales, where he spent his youth. He founded engineering works at Goulburn, and was mayor of that town for two years. His knowledge of engineering and contracting was of invaluable help during his Parliamentary career.

Apart from the Sydney Harbour Bridge he had the oversight of legislation connected with the construction of the George's River bridge. He was also responsible for establishing the shipbuilding industry at the Government dockyard Walsh Island, Newcastle.

When he celebrated his 80th annniversary in September there were many eulogistic references in the Legislatlive Assembly to his services to the State. An Extraordinary Government Gazette issued on Saturday announces that a service will be held in the Central Baptist Church, George Street, at 2 o'clock today. The funeral will then proceed to the Rookwood Crematorium.

Flags will be flown at half-mast on all public buildings and owners of private buildings are invited to follow suit.

All floral tributes should be sent to the Church before 1.30 p.m.

"I have heard the news with the very deepest regret" said the Premier (Mr Stevens) list night, "Mr Ball was a fine man, a vigorous and efficient Minister, and a loyal servant to his constituents."

"While he held the portfolios of public works and railways he was associated with the initiation of many important projects including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Border Railways Agreement, and the Hume waters scheme."

"Mr Ball spent 40 years in Parliament and set a great example of public service," said the Deputy Premier (Mr Bruxner). "He was a vigorous and energetic member. In his later years he was a loyal colleague of the members of the Country party, and we will miss him and his wise counsels sorely."

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Citation details

'Ball, Richard Thomas (1857–1937)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/ball-richard-thomas-1609/text1701, accessed 19 July 2019.

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