Australian Dictionary of Biography

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Allnutt, Albert George (1892–1963)

by Geoff Browne

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993

Albert George Allnutt (1892-1963), farmer and politician, was born on 29 April 1892 at Cheltenham, Melbourne, third child of George Thomas Allnutt, market gardener, and his wife Josephine, née Cameron, both Victorian born. Educated at Cheltenham and Moorabbin State schools, Albert worked with his father and became prominent in local organizations. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1917, but was discharged medically unfit. Next year he took up wheat-growing and road-contracting in the Mallee town of Carwarp. On 11 February 1922 at the Denham Street Methodist Church, Hawthorn, he married Robina Elizabeth Marchbank (d.1926); on 28 September 1929 at St Matthew's Anglican Church, Albury, he married Wilhelmina Redenbach: they were to move to Red Cliffs in 1933.

A founding member of the Victorian Farmers' Union in 1916, Allnutt had convened a meeting at Ouyen in April 1926 which saw a split with the V.F.U. and the formation of a new political body, the Country Progressive Party led by (Sir) Albert Dunstan. Standing for the seat of Mildura, Allnutt was one of four C.P.P. candidates returned to the Legislative Assembly at the 1927 elections. In 1930 the C.P.P. merged with the Victorian Country Party (formerly the V.F.U.). Allnutt was a firm supporter of Dunstan; in 1935 he seconded the latter's successful bid for party leadership and, during Dunstan's first ministry, served as government whip (1936-37). As a diligent local member whose electorate was farthest from Melbourne, he had few recreations. He enjoyed watching football, and bred horses and pigs. His one extravagance was his Cazare Beraut car.

Dunstan was to see Allnutt emerge as his most bitter opponent. Late in 1936 Allnutt thwarted government plans to push a night trotting bill through the assembly and subsequently denounced his leader as an untrustworthy, time-serving 'Iscariot'. In 1939 he was equally vehement in opposing the removal of A. E. Hocking as a commissioner of the State Savings Bank. A staunch Methodist and 'wowser', with a pronounced stammer, Allnutt was a parliamentary maverick whose uncompromising opinions and caustic tongue made him for a time 'the most despised member of his party'. From 1940 he had allies in the assembly, but found himself opposed in his electorate by pro-Dunstan candidates who were backed by the local press. Dunstan then promised benefits to Mildura which Allnutt had previously sought and been denied. In September 1945, speaking against his expulsion from the Country Party for having supported a no-confidence motion against the Dunstan-Hollway ministry, Allnutt declared: 'I have tried to be as outspoken as I dare . . . when you are attacked I find it best to hit to kill'. At the ensuing elections in November he lost his seat to Labor.

A commissioner (1947-50) of the Melbourne Harbor Trust, Allnutt unsuccessfully contested the Legislative Assembly seat of Mornington as an Independent in 1950 and was defeated for the Legislative Council's North Western Province in 1958. He later farmed at Mount Eliza, Research and Kerang. Throughout his career fire plagued him: his properties at Carwarp, Red Cliffs and Research were burnt out. Allnutt died of cancer on 18 March 1963 at Kerang. Survived by his wife and daughter, and by the son of his first marriage, he was buried in Carwarp cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • F. Beaton, Carwarp (Carwarp, Vic, nd, 1968?)
  • P. Hocking, Stormy Petrel (Melb, 1990)
  • Sunraysia Daily, 14 Feb, 8 Apr 1927, 19 Mar 1963
  • J. B. Paul, The Premiership of Sir Albert Dunstan (M.A. thesis, University of Melbourne, 1961)
  • private information.

Citation details

Geoff Browne, 'Allnutt, Albert George (1892–1963)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/allnutt-albert-george-9341/text16399, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 17 October 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993

View the front pages for Volume 13

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2018