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Lind, Sir Albert Eli (1878–1964)

by J. D. Adams

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986

Sir Albert Eli Lind (1878-1964), politician, was born on 21 February 1878 at East Charlton, Victoria, second son of Oliver Nicholas Lind, farmer from Björnholm, Denmark, and his Welsh wife Mary Ann, née Clay. Drought drove the family from Charlton to East Gippsland in 1882 where they settled at The Poplars, Clifton Park. Albert attended Lucknow and Bairnsdale State schools and found work in the hop and maize fields. At 12 he was apprenticed to local builders, the McKnockiter Bros, and was later in business himself as a signwriter, carpenter, painter and decorator. He was a keen sportsman, winning many local cycling races and rowing trophies around the State; he also participated in coursing.

On 31 August 1904 at Bairnsdale Lind married Flora Catherine Arthur with Presbyterian forms; they had four sons and five daughters. That year he selected 640 acres (259 ha) at Mount Taylor with his brother Ernie and worked hard to develop it into a fine dairying property. Eventually Hazel Dell covered about 3500 acres (1416 ha) which Lind held in partnership with his sons.

Lind was a councillor for the East Riding of Bairnsdale Shire in 1914-25 (president, 1917-18) and was known as a forceful advocate of greater government responsibility for rural road-works. In October 1920, as a Victorian Farmers' Union candidate, he won the Legislative Assembly seat of Gippsland East and quickly made his presence felt in debates. He constantly championed his electorate, advocating road and rail extension, the development of a port at Lakes Entrance, and the opening up of forest reserves to sawmillers, as well as forest conservation and reafforestation. In 1926 two national parks east of Orbost were named the Albert and the Lind national parks after him. In 1922 he became a member of the select committee for electricity supply and later of the Railways Standing Committee and the Parliamentary Printing Committee. He was also chairman of the Unemployment and Relief Council.

In 1935 when (Sir) Albert Dunstan became premier Lind was appointed minister of forests and president of the Board of Lands and Works, holding these posts through a record term until October 1945 (with a brief interlude during the Cain ministry of September 1943). He was commissioner of crown lands and survey for a similar period, relinquishing that place temporarily from January 1942 until September 1943 for the portfolio of public instruction. He was deputy leader of the Victorian United Country Party in 1937-45 and deputy premier from October 1937 to September 1943, acting as premier on several occasions. He was chairman of committees in 1947-50.

In the McDonald governments of 27 June 1950 to 28 October 1952 and 31 October to 17 December 1952 Lind again resumed his posts in lands and forests and was also minister for soldier settlement. He was knighted in 1951.

As minister of forests Lind developed pine plantations in neglected country, particularly in Gippsland; he promoted forestry camps for the unemployed and to provide training in forestry skills for boys. Under his urging Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd established their Maryvale mills near Morwell and after the bushfires of 1939 operated other sawmills in the Erica district to cut out damaged timber for scantling and pulpwood. In this period Lind encouraged the setting up of bushfire brigades and the building of forestry roads.

As part of his responsibility for lands he helped relieve many soldier settlers by transferring their liabilities to the general revenue account. He also assisted General Motors-Holden's Ltd to purchase land at Fishermens Bend, Melbourne, where in 1948 they were to produce the first entirely Australian-built motor car. In later years, with his long experience of parliamentary service, Lind was a member of the Legislative Assembly Standing Orders Committee (1950-61), the House Committee (1955-59) and the Public Accounts Committee (1956-61). He retired from parliament in June 1961 after having served longer than any other sitting member.

Sir Albert died on 26 June 1964, survived by his wife and eight children. Greatly honoured throughout East Gippsland, he was accorded a state funeral at Bairnsdale where he was buried. He is remembered as a tall man, straight and wiry, white-haired in later life, and as very approachable. He was aptly described by the Country Party leader George Moss as 'a bushman who never got lost'.

Select Bibliography

  • Parliamentary Debates (Victoria), 1961, p 3097, 1964, p 21
  • Bairnsdale Advertiser, 29 June 1964
  • Age (Melbourne), 25 July 1950, 27 June 1964.

Citation details

J. D. Adams, 'Lind, Sir Albert Eli (1878–1964)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/lind-sir-albert-eli-7198/text12449, published in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 30 July 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986

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