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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Lazarus, Daniel Barnet (1866–1932)

by Charles Fahey

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

Daniel Lazarus, by Johnstone, O'Shannessy & Co, c.1893

Daniel Lazarus, by Johnstone, O'Shannessy & Co, c.1893

State Library of Victoria, 49333699

Daniel Barnet Lazarus (1866-1932), mining director and politician, was born on 20 October 1866 at New Chum, Bendigo, fifth child of Polish-born Barnet Lazarus, gold-mine owner, and his London-born wife Dina, née Abraham. He was educated at Bendigo High School and toured Europe with his brother Samuel in 1883. His father had arrived in Bendigo in 1852 and in partnership with George Gibbs became a pioneer of quartz-mining. Their claim on the Saxby reef was reported to have produced £136,000 net profit between 1864 and Barnet's death in 1880; he left £80,000 to his three sons. After a visit to Europe Daniel managed the family properties and with a syndicate of speculators floated the Prince of Wales and Frederick the Great mines. He believed that Bendigo's mines, especially its neglected western reefs, needed British investors. A proud Bendigonian, he joined the committees of the hospital, benevolent asylum and art gallery and enthusiastically supported establishment of vineyards and orchards. After his second visit to Europe in 1889 Lazarus was elected to the Sandhurst (Bendigo) City Council in 1890. At 26 he was the youngest mayor in Victoria when elected in 1893 and the first locally born mayor of Bendigo.

Lazarus was returned to the Legislative Assembly at a by-election in October 1893, and survived as a Liberal at the general election in September 1894. He lost his seat in October 1897 but held it again in 1900-02. He was a member of the royal commission on state forests in 1897. In 1896 Lazarus supported legislative attempts to reform the iniquitous tribute system of employment in mines and in 1900 campaigned for improved ventilation in Bendigo's deep quartz-mines. Although an investor himself, he supported Bendigo's engine drivers in their attempt to win a wage increase from the mine-magnate George Lansell in December 1899. This support for local liberal issues led the Bendigo Independent to describe Lazarus, in 1897, as an attentive and vigorous member who was listened to by both sides. However, on issues such as votes for women, 'one man one vote' and reform of the Legislative Council, he was anything but liberal. By October 1900 the Independent had branded Lazarus as a conservative in the mould of Murray Smith and suggested that his 'political prayer book and shorter and longer catechism' was the Argus. On 27 September 1905 Lazarus married a divorcee Mary Watson, née de Fraza, in Melbourne at the Office of the Government Statist.

The stocky Lazarus was a sportsman and keen follower of horse racing. A member of the Victoria Racing Club and the Victorian Amateur Turf Club, with his brother Dr Samuel Lazarus he owned several horses. He died childless on 9 March 1932 of a cerebral haemorrhage in Melbourne and was buried in the Jewish section of White Hills cemetery, Bendigo; his many relatives were requested to eschew mourning clothes. His wife survived him. His estate, sworn for probate at £24,513, was partly left to Jewish charities.

Select Bibliography

  • W. B. Kimberly, Bendigo and its Vicinity (Ballarat, 1895)
  • Bendigo Independent, 3 Aug 1880, 8 Oct 1897, 26, 27 Oct 1900
  • Table Talk (Melbourne), 27 Oct 1893
  • Age (Melbourne), 10 Mar 1932
  • Argus (Melbourne), 10 Mar 1932
  • Bendigo Advertiser, 10, 12 Mar 1932.

Citation details

Charles Fahey, 'Lazarus, Daniel Barnet (1866–1932)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 23 October 2020.

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

View the front pages for Volume 10

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