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Members’ biographical register

John Leighton Nanson

Date: 22 September 1863
Place: Abbey St House, Carlisle, Cumberland, England, United Kingdom
Arrival in WA
To South Australia and then to Western Australia mid 1880s
In England 1905–1908
1908 returned to WA
Back to England, 1913
Son of John, solicitor and town clerk, and Caroline Fletcher James
Marriage and Family
Married 8 October 1887, St Johns Church, Fremantle to Janet Drummond Durlacher (born 23 April 1868 and died 14 December 1943), daughter of Alfred and Deborah Wilberforce Clarkson
Children: one son and two daughters
Date: 29 February 1916
Place: Wimborne, Dorset, England, United Kingdom
Church of England
Educated Carlisle Grammar School, and King William’s School, Isle of Man
Studied law in England 1905–1908
1908 Bar
Employment History
Worked on station at Broken Hill
Journalist at Fremantle
To South Australia to work in Commercial Bank and then accountant in Perth branch 1892–1893
On failure of bank joined West Australian as Fremantle representative
1899–1902 associate editor
1902–1905 chairman of directors Morning Herald, later sold interest to Bishop Gibney
Date Elected
24 April 1901
Inaugural Speech
Inaugural Video
Search for speeches by John Nanson
Year Retired/Resigned
Parliamentary Service
  • MLA Murchison 24 April 1901–28 June 1904; Greenough 28 June 1904–27 October 1905, 11 September 1908–21 October 1914

  • Minister for Lands 21 November–23 December 1901
  • Minister without Portfolio 25 January–28 April 1904; for Works 28 April–10 August 1904; for Education and Attorney General 30 June 1909–7 October 1911
  • Leader of the Opposition 1902–1903
Nanson's wife was the first woman journalist to have seat in press gallery WA Parliament
D Black and G Bolton, eds, Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia: volume one 1870-1930, Parliamentary History Project, Perth, WA, 2001, p. 150.
Further Information
Battye JS. The Cyclopedia of Western Australia, vol 1, p. 350.
O. K. Battye, 'Nanson, John Leighton (1863–1916)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 24 December 2015.
The bicentennial dictionary of Western Australians pre 1829-1888, vol 3.
Morning Herald, 25 January 1904.
Twentieth century impressions of Western Australia, p. 33–34, 172.
West Australian, 18 September 1908, 3 March 1916.