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Members’ biographical register

(Robert) Ross McDonald

Principal Honours
Knighted June 1950
Date: 25 January 1888
Place: Albany, Western Australia
Son of Angus McDonald, bank manager, and Mary Jane Elder
Marriage and Family
Date: 25 March 1964
Place: St John of God Hospital, Subiaco, Western Australia
Cemetery: Karrakatta Cemetery, Western Australia
Educated Scotch College, Perth and University of Adelaide (by external study)—LLB
Admitted to the Bar 10 March 1910, KC 12 May 1936, Hon. LLD (University of Western Australia) 1961
Employment History
Enlisted Australian Imperial Force 15 February 1916 in Victoria, 2nd Lieutenant of Artillery
To United Kingdom in 1916 then to France and Belgium, served with 39th Battery and 119th Howitzer Battery, 4th Division Artillery; promoted Lieutenant 1 August 1917
Discharged 2 November 1919
From 1919 with legal firm Robinson, Cox and Wheatley (later Robinson and Cox), became partner
Member Law Society
Part-time lecturer Law School, University of Western Australia, 1928–1931
Original vice-president for Australian and first chairman for Western Australian, International Commission of Jurists
Director of numerous companies from 1950
Knighted June 1950
Nationalist then Liberal
Vice-president Nationalist Party 1936–1943
Date Elected
8 April 1933
Inaugural Speech
Inaugural Video
Search for speeches by Robert McDonald
Year Retired/Resigned
West Perth
Parliamentary Service
  • MLA West Perth 8 April 1933–25 March 1950

  • Leader Nationalist Party (Liberal from 1945) 13 April 1938–14 December 1946
  • Attorney General, Minister for Police and Native Affairs 1 April 1947–5 January 1948
  • Minister for Housing, Forests and Native Affairs 5 January 1948–7 October 1949

  • Chairman Select Committee on the Rural Relief Fund Act Amendment Bill 1937
  • Chairman Select Committee on the Utility of Certain Railway Devices 1942–1943
  • Member Joint Select Committee on Alternative Sites for the Erection of Public Buildings 1939–1940
  • Member Select Committee on the Land Bill 1933
  • Member Select Committee on the Purchasers’ Protection Bill 1933
  • Member Select Committee on the City of Perth Superannuation Fund Bill 1934
  • Member Select Committee on the Electoral Act (1907–1921) 1935
  • Member Select Committee on the Commowealth Powers Bill 1943

Royal Commissions
  • Member Royal Commission inquiring into the Kendenup Fruit Co Ltd and De Garis (WA) Development Co Ltd 1923
  • Member Hon Royal Commission inquiring into the Administration of the Municipal Council of the City of Perth 1937–1938
Founder and original president National Trust
Member Board of Trustees Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery 1950–1958
Warden State War Memorial 1952
Chairman Medical School Appeal 1955
Chairman Royal Perth Hospital 1956–1960
President Friends of Royal Perth Hospital
Member Senate University of Western Australia 1950–1961
Chairman and member of council St Catherine’s University College
Member council Scotch College
President Victoria League for 20 years and then deputy president
Member Weld Club and Perth Rotary Club, latter from formation, and president in 1930

Captain Hon aide-de-camp to Governor 1925–1931
Member council and vice-chairman Finance Committee Boy Scouts Association
Bachelor of Laws (LL B), King’s Counsel (KC), Honorary Doctor of Laws (Hon LL D)
D Black and G Bolton, eds, Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia: volume two 1930-2010, Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Perth, WA, 2011, p. 157.
Further Information
G. C. Bolton and Tresna Shorter, 'McDonald, Sir Robert Ross (1888–1964)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 23 December 2015.
West Australian, 12 April 1933.
Who's Who in Australia, (1950)