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Members’ biographical register

Arthur Raymond Tonkin

Date: 21 January 1930
Place: Kelmscott, Western Australia
Son of Norman Sedrick Tonkin, labourer, and Florence May Cole
Marriage and Family
Married (1) 9 May 1958, Perth to Judith Maxine Driessen, daughter of Jacobus Driessen and Doreen Messenger
Children: two sons and one daughter
Divorced September 1975
Married (2) 25 October 1975, Parliament House Gardens, Perth to Ina Marie Holzman, daughter of Alois Holzman and Erika Wally Doust
No children
Divorced December 1983
Married (3) 31 March 1985, Parliament House Gardens, Perth to Elizabeth Jantje Hazebroek (nee Egberts), daughter of Cornelius Roberts and Adriana Elizabeth Van Den Heuvel
No children
Educated Gosnells Primary School, Perth Boys School (until 14 years old), completed Intermediate Certificate in Melbourne, Victoria and matriculated after self-taught night study in Perth
University of Western Australia (full time 1952 otherwise part-time) September 1951–April 1953

Claremont Teachers College—BA (history major) 1958, DipEd 1960
Employment History
Followed variety of occupations between 1945 and 1950—selling newspapers, hardware store (C Bert Hood) employee, wholesale periodical distributor for Gordon and Gotch (before and after going to Melbourne), junior clerk in Department of Lands and Surveys, farmhand at Wongan Hills, trainee fireman with Western Australian Government Railways, labourer with Water Board at Canning Dam, labourer in timber yard (Millars Timber Co) in Melbourne and jam factory employee at South Yarra 1948–1949
In Perth again as operator in rope works, orderly at Royal Perth Hospital

Teaching monitor at Kenwick 1951
Teacher at Victoria Park Annexe Kent Street High School June 1953–December 1953, Armadale Junior High School 1954, Armadale High School 1955–1957, Bridgetown Junior High School 1958–1960
Deputy Head Gnowangerup Junior High School 1961–1962
Temporary Senior Master Governor Stirling Senior High School 1963
Senior master Social Studies Belmont High School 1964–1965
Senior master History and Economics John Forrest Senior High School 1966–1970
Joined Australian Labor Party 1949, Maddington branch
Date Elected
20 February 1971
Inaugural Speech
Tonkin, Arthur Raymond, Inaugural Speech.pdfTonkin, Arthur Raymond, Inaugural Speech.pdf
Inaugural Video
No inaugural video is available as filming did not start until May 2003
Search for speeches by Arthur Tonkin
Year Retired/Resigned
Parliamentary Service
  • MLA Mirrabooka 20 February 1971–30 March 1974 (electorate abolished in redistribution); Morley 30 March 1974–19 February 1983 (electorate abolished in redistribution); Morley–Swan 19 February 1983–18 March 1987 (resigned)
  • Opposition spokesman on Labour, Industrial Affairs, Consumer Affairs and Immigration April 1977–March 1978; on Labour and Industry, and Consumer Affairs March 1978–1980; Urban Development, Town Planning and Tourism 1980–September 1981; on Local Government, Regional Development and Decentralisation, and Consumer Affairs, also Manager of Opposition Business September 1981–February 1983
  • Minister for Water Resources, Consumer Affairs (until 23 December 1983), Parliamentary and Electoral Reform and Leader of the House 25 February 1983–26 February 1986
  • Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Water Resources 25 February 1986–12 May 1986

  • Deputy Chairman of Committees November 1971–1973
  • Member Public Accounts Committee 24 May 1973–1974
  • Member Standing Orders Committee 1977–1980
  • Member Printing Committee 1971–1974
  • Chairman Select Committee on Parliamentary Committee system May–September 1973
  • Member Hon Royal Committee inquiring into Hire Purchase and Other Agreements 1971–August 1972
  • Member Select Committee of Privilege concerning Allegations against a Minister November 1976
Chairman working party examining future use of groundwater on Perth coastal plain
Member State School Teachers Union
Coached schoolboy sporting teams in cricket, football, athletics, baseball, softball
Played competition chess including state championships, president Chess Federation of WA for many years from 1988
After leaving Parliament taught history and English on a voluntary basis and also taught chess at Mirrabooka Senior High School which produced six State junior champions
Numerous speaking engagements for Amnesty International, Friends of the ABC and the United Nations Association
The Example, a novel published by Artlook
BA (history major) 1958, DipEd 1960
D Black and G Bolton, eds. Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia, Vol. 2, 1930-2010, Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Perth 2010, p. 257-258.
Further Information
Edited transcript of an interview with Hon. Arthur Tonkin
On Tap, Vol. 8 No. 2, April 1983.
West Australian, 23 April 1986, 7 February 1990.