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Youl, Alfred (1849–1921)

by G. H. Stancombe

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

Alfred Youl (1849-1921), farmer and politician, was born on 23 August 1849 at Symmons Plains, near Perth, Tasmania, third son of (Sir) James Arndell Youl, pastoralist, and his wife Eliza, née Cox. In 1854 the family left to live at Clapham Park, Surrey, England. Educated at St Aubin's School, Jersey, and at Uppingham School, Leicestershire, Alfred worked in a lawyer's office and later on a sheep-farm in Shropshire. On 2 September 1875 at the parish church, Ercall Magna, he married Margaret Mansell (d.1888), a farmer's daughter, and returned with her to Elsdon, Tasmania. Acquiring Leighlands, an adjacent pastoral property, he held some 2800 acres (1133 ha) of good pasture with a mile-long (1.6 km) frontage on the South Esk River. The Youls were to have three sons and four daughters, and lived in a large home at Leighlands.

His involvement in civic affairs provided a grounding for State politics. Youl served on the Evandale (1884-98) and Longford (1898-1916) municipal councils; he was a member of the board of health of the one and of the licensing bench and rabbit board of the latter; he was also chairman of the Perth main roads board and a member of the Northern Agricultural and Pastoral Association. District coroner from 1889 and chairman of the Longford Court of General Sessions, he was appointed a justice of the peace in 1893. He had married Annette Frances Wigan, a local farmer's daughter, on 9 February 1891 at St John's Anglican Church, Launceston. Sharing her husband's commitment to serve the community, Annette was active in several women's and charitable organizations. She was an able sportswoman who played competition croquet and golf.

Broad shouldered, Youl had rugged features and a luxuriant moustache. Elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly as a Ministerialist in May 1903, he held the seat of Longford until April 1909, then represented Macquarie in the Legislative Council until 1920. Mrs Youl failed to win Wilmot when she stood for the assembly on a platform of women's issues in 1922.

Youl died at Leighlands on 3 February 1921 and was buried in Perth cemetery. He was survived by his wife (d.1937) and one of their two sons, and by a son and three daughters of his first marriage. His estate was sworn for probate at £16,018. Several of his children had careers of note. Francis Victor Mansell (1886-1972) became an expert on pasture improvement and established Elsdon's famous Polworth stud. Geoffrey Arthur Douglas (1892-1971), a major in the Royal Field Artillery, was awarded the Military Cross and the Belgian Croix de Guerre in World War I; he commanded the 2nd/40th Battalion in the Northern Territory in World War II when the Japanese attacked Darwin. John Beresford Osmond (1894-1917), a lieutenant in the Australian Imperial Force, was killed at Bullecourt, France.

Select Bibliography

  • M. McArthur (ed), Prominent Tasmanians (Hob, 1924)
  • Cyclopedia of Tasmania (Hob, 1931)
  • Tasmanian Mail, 16 Dec 1920, 3 Feb 1921
  • Mercury (Hobart), 4 Feb 1921, 23 Mar 1955
  • Australasian, 12 Feb 1921
  • Examiner (Launceston), 7 Sept 1937.

Citation details

G. H. Stancombe, 'Youl, Alfred (1849–1921)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/youl-alfred-9212/text16275, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 28 November 2014.

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

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