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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Fraser, Simon (1824–1889)

by Jacqueline Bell and M. Carter

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

Simon Fraser (1824?-1889), auctioneer and parliamentarian, was born at Inverness, Scotland, son of Alexander Fraser, farmer, and his wife Janet. He was educated at local schools and ran an ironmongery at Liverpool before leaving for Queensland in 1862. With J. F. Buckland he founded the auctioneering firm of Fraser & Buckland which later became Fraser & Son, land and commission agents, stock, station and produce brokers of Queen Street, Brisbane.

Fraser entered parliament in November 1868, representing North Brisbane in the Legislative Assembly with Dr Kevin O'Doherty and Theophilus Pugh. He represented Bundamba in 1873-78 and Brisbane South in 1880-88. A member of the Grey Street Congregational Church, South Brisbane, from its foundation in 1866, and one of the six delegates to the Congregational Intercolonial Conference in May 1883, Fraser was an able representative of liberal Nonconformist opinion. He often reiterated his belief in promoting the interests of the colony as a whole rather than supporting any one interest group. Queensland needed people, he argued, and migration from Europe and Asia should be encouraged; but he objected to coloured labour being introduced for a limited term of years to supply one industry. Referring to the sugar industry in 1874, Fraser declared that 'if any industry could only exist by being bolstered up in that way, the sooner it came to an end the better'. He supported land legislation and railway extension which aimed at settling small farmers, and free, secular, compulsory education to primary level. A member of the Board of Education in 1874, Fraser believed that Queensland should be able to offer a university education but maintained that the government should not subsidize secondary or advanced education since this would not promote self reliance and independence. He was an originator of the Brisbane Sunday School Union and three times its president.

Under Sir Samuel Griffith and his liberal government Fraser served as chairman of committees in the Legislative Assembly in 1884-88 with 'the strictest impartiality and conscientiousness in the discharge of his duties'. In London on 5 September 1856 as a widower Fraser married Lucy Ann Simpson; they had three sons and five daughters. He died aged about 64 on 8 January 1889 at South Brisbane.

Select Bibliography

  • Congregational Union (New South Wales), Report of the Intercolonial Jubilee Conference (Syd, 1883)
  • C. A. Bernays, The Roll of the Queensland Parliament 1860-1926 (Brisb, 1926)
  • Parliamentary Debates (Queensland), 1868-70, 1874-75, 1878, 1880, 1884
  • Brisbane Courier, 9 Jan 1889.

Citation details

Jacqueline Bell and M. Carter, 'Fraser, Simon (1824–1889)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 24 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

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