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Members’ biographical register

Henry Keith Watson

Principal Honours
Knight (Kt) 1968
Date: 22 August 1900
Place: Southern Cross, Western Australia
Son of William Henry Watson, insurance agent, and Martha Elizabeth Smith
Marriage and Family
Married 17 November 1926, Hardey Memorial Church, Cottesloe to Edith Wilson Symonds, daughter of Edwin Symonds and Sarah Jane Osborne
Children: one son and two daughters
Date: 13 January 1973
Place: Charles Jenkins Hospital, Bentley, Western Australia
Cemetery: Karrakatta Cemetery, WA
Educated at Cottesloe and Claremont State Schools
Storekeeper, accountant and manager
Employment History
Telegraph messenger boy 1915
Worked in Tax Department from 1919
Set up in business as tax consultant and public accountant from 1922
Director Perth Building Society 1932–1971, chairman 1951–1971
National then Liberal
National Independent 1928, Independent 1931
Vice-president National Party 1933
Vice-president Liberal Party 1948
Date Elected
8 May 1948
Inaugural Speech
Inaugural Video
Search for speeches by Henry Watson
Year Retired/Resigned
Parliamentary Service

  • MLC Metropolitan Province 8 May 1948 (by-election)–21 May 1968
  • Contested Metropolitan Province 1 November 1941 (by-election—defeated by one vote)

  • Member Standing Orders Committee 1955–1968
  • Member committee to prepare case for Secession and of Delegation to Imperial Parliament 1934–1935


  • Contested Fremantle (House of Representatives) 17 November 1928, 12 October 1929, 19 December 1931
According to the Sunday Times (Perth) 11 April 1948, p. 7, HK Watson was 'Keith to most people'
President WA Association of Permanent Building Societies 1951–1969
Chairman WA Thomas and Co flour millers, 1950–1963
Director WA Insurance Co Ltd, Western Press Ltd and George Weston Foods Ltd
Associate from 1929, and Fellow from 1946, Institute of Incorporated Secretaries
Strong advocate of secession—co-founder in 1930, honorary secretary then Chairman Dominion League during most of secession referendum campaign, subsequently honorary treasurer—member of delegation to United Kingdom 1934–1935 and remained with League until 1938
Member Board Kingswood College, University of Western Australia
Member Dalkeith Bowling Club, Nedlands Golf Club
Black, David and Geoffrey Bolton. Biographical register of members of the Parliament of Western Australia: volume one 1870-1930, p. 271.
Further Information
Colless, VH, Men of Western Australia, Perth, published by the author, p. 99.
Independent,14 January 1973.
Moore, Bryce, A Superior Kind of Savings Bank. Perth Building Society 1862-1987, Perth, Challenge Bank in association with the Centre for Western Australian History, University of Western Australia.
Harry C. J. Phillips, 'Watson, Sir Henry Keith (1900–1973)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2002, accessed online 12 January 2016.
Sunday Times, 14 January 1973.
Watt ED, Western Separatism: the history of the Secession Movement in Western Australia, MA thesis, University of WA, 1958.
West Australian, 28 May 1935, 28 January 1962, 1 January 1968, 15 January 1973.
Western Australian Parliamentary Debates, 5 August 1964, 10 August 1968.