Fellows of Senate

The Hon Broughton Barnabas O’Conor MLC

An early graduate of the University of Sydney (BA 1892 and LLB 1895), the Hon Broughton Barnabas O’Conor MLC was a Fellow of Senate from 1923 to 1934.


(1868 - 1953)
BA LLB Sydney
Fellow of Senate 1923 - 1934

His early days

Broughton Barnabas O'Conor was born on 1 November 1868 at Numba, Shoalhaven district, NSW, fifth child of Irish parents John O'Connor, catechist and later Church of England clergyman, and his wife Anne, née Connolly.

As a child he lived at Guyong, Hill End, Cobar, Sutton Forest and Kurrajong, where his father took up charges. The family moved to Sydney in 1883 and from 1885 O'Conor attended Sydney Grammar School, where he excelled at cricket and football.

His student days at the University of Sydney

O'Conor graduated BA in 1892 and LLB in 1895.

His career

O'Conor was admitted to the Bar on 9 March 1895 and practised from chambers in Wentworth Court.

He was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Sherbrooke for (Sir) Edmund Barton's National Federal Party in 1898, and held the seat as an Independent in 1901 and a Liberal in 1904.

In 1904-07, as minister of public instruction and minister for labour and industry, O'Conor was the youngest member of (Sir) Joseph Carruthers' ministry. He presided over educational reform in NSW in the wake of the royal commission on education. O'Conor resigned his portfolios on 13 May 1907 and did not contest the September election.

In 1908 he was nominated to the Legislative Council. A member of the National and later the United Australia parties, he was elected to the reconstituted Legislative Council for six years in December 1933. He was chairman of committees in 1912-34.

He continued to practise at the Bar until 1930 and was a director of Parramatta and Granville Electric Supply Co Ltd, Electric Light and Power Supply Corporation Ltd, Toohey's Ltd and Toohey's Standard Securities Ltd.

O'Conor died on 2 February 1953.

From the Australian Dictionary of Biography

His membership of Senate

The Hon Broughton Barnabas O’Conor MLC was a Fellow of Senate elected by the Legislative Council from 1923 to 1934, but took little part in discussions.