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Vincent, Roy Stanley (1892–1965)

by Michael Sturma

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (MUP), 1990

Roy Stanley Vincent (1892-1965), newspaper proprietor and politician, was born on 6 February 1892 at Uralla, New South Wales, eleventh child of New Zealand-born Frank Walter Vincent, journalist, and his wife Sarah, née Rampling, from Armidale. The Vincents had long been involved with northern newspapers. Educated locally, Roy and his brother Reginald began publishing the Don Dorrigo Gazette and Guy Fawkes Advocate in 1910.

Enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force on 17 September 1915, Roy Vincent embarked with the 20th Battalion for Egypt. He arrived in France with his battalion in March 1916 and two months later was seriously wounded and gassed; he never fully recovered. He embarked for Sydney in September and was discharged in November. Becoming president (1918) of the Dorrigo branch of the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' Imperial League of Australia, he was a member (1918-20) of the local repatriation committee. On 19 December 1919 he married Ethel Gertrude Hardwicke at St Stephen's Anglican Church, Dorrigo. A foundation member of the North Coast Development League, Vincent advocated improved port facilities at Coffs Harbour and a north-coast rail service; he was also a leader of the Northern New State Movement and an active publicist of its campaign.

Standing as a Progressive for the seat of Oxley in 1922, he was returned to the Legislative Assembly and joined (Sir) Michael Bruxner's 'True Blues'. Vincent held Oxley in 1925 and represented Raleigh from 1927 to 1953; he was sometime whip and secretary of the Country Party and an executive-member of the New England division of the United Country Movement. He brought to parliament 'a clear and vigorous mind'. A fine speaker, with the ability to get 'to the core of things', he won the respect of his colleagues. He was secretary for mines and minister for forests from 18 June 1932 to 16 May 1941 in the Stevens-Bruxner and Mair-Bruxner coalitions; briefly in 1938 he was, as well, minister for agriculture. Vincent launched a progressive policy of re-afforestation and conservation. His Forestry (Amendment) Act of 1935 reconstituted the Forestry Commission under E. H. F. Swain and provided for the creation of national forests. In Declaration of the Nightcap National Forest (1937) Vincent expressed his view that such areas should be managed with 'the same care and attention as … any large business'.

In 1938 Vincent was responsible for the Soil Conservation Act under which a conservation service was created and a soil research station opened at Cowra. He established the fuel research committee in the Department of Mines (1935) and helped to draft uniform regulations for civil aviation in Australia. Appointed chairman of the State Coal Control Committee in 1940 to ensure the availability of coal for defence and industry, he succeeded D. H. Drummond as deputy leader in July 1950.

Quiet and unassuming, Vincent was well-read and practical. For relaxation, he fished and played billiards and snooker. He belonged to the Aborigines Protection Board (1923-37). Forced by ill health to retire from public life in 1953, he devoted himself to his garden at Pymble. Survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters, he died in Concord Repatriation General Hospital on 5 June 1965 and was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • U. Ellis, The Country Party (Melb, 1958)
  • D. Aitkin, The Colonel (Canb, 1969)
  • D. Aitkin,The Country Party in New South Wales (Canb, 1972)
  • Parliamentary Debates (New South Wales), 1965, 57, p 33
  • Bulletin, 6 July 1932
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 7 Nov 1933, 29 Mar 1935, 16 Sept 1937, 22 May 1940, 13 Jan 1961, 7 June 1965.

Citation details

Michael Sturma, 'Vincent, Roy Stanley (1892–1965)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/vincent-roy-stanley-8925/text15679, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 26 May 2019.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (MUP), 1990

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