Gatton Murders - Andrew Henry Barlow

Gatton Murders

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Barlow, Andrew Henry (1836 - 1915)

Birth: August 1836, Wanstead, Essex, England

Death: 29 March 1915, Toowong, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Portrait of Andrew Henry Barlow  (1836 - 1915) Andrew Henry Barlow (1836 - 1915), by P. Poulsen, courtesy of State Library of Queensland. 7014. Image Details

BARLOW, ANDREW HENRY (1836-1915), bank officer and politician, was born in August 1836 at Wanstead, Essex, England, son of John Henry Barlow, merchant, and his wife Eliza Ann, née Burnstead. He arrived with his father in Sydney in 1848 and on 11 July 1851 joined the Bank of Australasia. In December 1855 he became sub-accountant in the Sydney branch and between that year and 1884 he served in Melbourne, Newcastle, Auckland, Tamworth, Brisbane and Ipswich, Queensland, where he became manager in 1878. In January 1885 he was retired on a pension because of a chronic liver condition. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Ipswich on 5 May 1888. A logical rather than a fluent speaker, Barlow opposed Chinese immigration and supported the eight-hour bill, but favoured plural voting because he believed that unrestrained democracy fostered despotism.

As secretary for public lands and agriculture in the Nelson ministry between 1893 and 1896, Barlow introduced the relatively unsuccessful Communities Land Settlement Act of 1893 which provided for co-operative land settlement. The Crown Lands and the Agricultural Lands Purchase Acts of 1894, which encouraged 'grazing homesteads' and enabled the Land Board to purchase land for selection as agricultural farms, were more successful. When his health failed in 1896, he resigned his portfolio on 6 March at his wife's request, but was persuaded to represent the government in the Legislative Council. He continued as minister without portfolio in three ministries until he resigned on 11 September 1899 when (Sir) James Dickson, as premier, supported Federation, which Barlow strongly opposed. He was severely criticized in parliament in 1897 for his role in the Queensland National Bank scandal. In 1893 Nelson and Barlow had declared the bank sound, but by 1896 it had a huge deficit and further investigations revealed gross mismanagement amounting almost to corruption.

Barlow was out of office in 1899-1903 because he disapproved of Robert Philp, but from September 1903 to November 1907 he was secretary for public instruction; after a second Philp ministry he held the post again from February 1908 to June 1909. Assisted by J. D. Story as under-secretary, he made plans for state high schools and departmental control of technical colleges ('the poor man's university') which were implemented by his successors. In 1910 he was appointed to the first Senate of the University of Queensland. In 1909-15 Barlow was again minister without portfolio and leader of the government in the Legislative Council. Now trusted adviser-in-chief to the various premiers rather than a popular politician, he was referred to as 'the continuous minister'; he often substituted for other ministers and was several times acting premier.

Tall, with a pronounced shoulder hump, Barlow was tactful, shrewd and witty, but sometimes unpleasantly obsequious. Throughout his parliamentary career, he adhered sincerely to his basic liberal principles even though his cabinet affiliations frequently changed. He maintained a paternalistic attitude to 'the poor man' but was bitterly hostile to socialism and the Labor Party.

Barlow suffered a cerebral haemorrhage and ten days later died on 29 March 1915 at his Toowong home; after a state funeral he was buried at Toowong cemetery with Anglican rites. His estate was valued for probate at £7271. In 1873 he had married Eleanor Marion Outridge; they had one son.