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Members’ biographical register

Edward Needham

Date: Reputedly 30 September 1874 (possibly 16 October 1870?)
Place: Ormskirk, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Arrival in WA
Arrived WA 1901
Son of Patrick, labourer, and Margaret Fahy
Marriage and Family
Married 7 January 1908, St Brigid’s Church, West Perth to Lillian Helen Godsden (born circa 1883 and died circa May 1963), daughter of Charles and Mary Mooney
Children: two sons
Date: 26 October 1956
Place: St John of God Hospital, Subiaco, Western Australia
Cemetery: Karrakatta Cemetery, Western Australia
Educated St Mary’s Catholic School, Sunderland and at Seaham College, Durham. Left school at 12 years
Employment History
Trapper boy at Seaham coalmine 1886–1888
In power loom weaving factory in Paisley and various Clydeside shipyards 1888–1901
President Renfrew branch Amalgamated Shipyards Helpers Society 1890
Worked in Rocky Bay quarries
Boilermaker’s assistant at Fremantle locomotive shops 1902–1904
Between 1905 and 1907 unemployed and agent for NML Assurance
Treasurer Fremantle Council, Parliamentary Labor Party (PLP) 1903–1904, vice-president 1904–1906, president 1906
Honorary Secretary Federal Members’ Branch, Australian Labor Federation (ALF) 1916
Secretary Metropolitan Council ALF (WA branch) 1921–1923
Acting Secretary Australian Labor (ALP) (WA branch) 1922
Delegate Metropolitan District Council 1929–39, representative on ALP State Executive 1931–1932, vice-president 1933
Perth representative, ALP Triennial Conference 1935
General president ALP State Executive 1939
Date Elected
28 June 1904
Inaugural Speech
Inaugural Video
Search for speeches by Edward Needham
Year Retired/Resigned
Parliamentary Service

  • MLA Fremantle 28 June 1904–27 October 1905
  • Contested Fremantle 27 October 1905, 25 May 1906 (by-election)
  • MLA Perth 8 April 1933–25 March 1950
  • MLA North Perth 25 March 1950–14 February 1953
  • Contested North Perth 12 March 1921, Perth 26 March 1930


  • Senator for WA 1 January 1907 (elected 12 December 1906)–30 July 1914, 5 September 1914–30 June 1920 (break in service due to 1914 double dissolution); 1 July 1923 (elected 16 December 1922)–30 June 1929
  • Contested Senate 13 December 1919, 17 November 1928, 19 December 1931, Perth (House of Representatives) 12 October 1929

  • Member Executive Parliamentary Labor Party 1916–1919
  • Senate Whip 1917–1920
  • Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate 1925–1926, Leader of the Opposition 1 July 1926–25 June 1929

  • Temporary Chairman of Committees 1914–1917
  • Member Standing Committee on Public Works 1916–1920
  • Member Select Committee on General Elections 1913
  • Member Federal Parliament Recruiting Committee 1917–1918
  • Member Joint Committee on Public Accounts 1923–1926
Member Society of Railway Employees, Fremantle branch, vice-president 1902–1904
President United Workers’ Union (Fremantle district) 1906
Secretary Trades Hall Association, Perth 1921–1923, Agent 1929–1933
1930–1932 assisted WA Government collect payment of migrant loans
Active in Friendly Societies while in United Kingdom
Member Council of Industrial School for the Blind, WA
Chairman Board of Management of Civilian Maimed and Limbless Association
Vice-president Australian Advisory Council for Physically Handicapped
Member Soldiers’ Descendants War Patriotic Fund
Member War Loan and War Blinded Soldiers’ Committee
Member Metropolitan Unemployed Relief Committee
Member Perth Hospital Board 1938–1939
Battye, JS. The Cyclopedia of Western Australia vol 1, p. 307–308
Commonwealth Parliamentary Handbook.
Black, David and Geoffrey Bolton. Biographical register of members of the Parliament of Western Australia: volume one 1870-1930, p. 151.
Morning Herald, 29 June 1904.
O'Callaghan, Denis. Denis O'Callaghan's Long Life, reminiscences & adventures throughout the world.
Millar, Ann. The Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate, vol 1.
Rydon J. A Biographical Register of the Commonwealth Parliament 1901-72.
West Australian, 10 April 1933, 29 October 1956.
Who's Who Australia (1927–55)