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Lyle Howard Moore (1899–1982)

by I. R. Hancock

This article was published:

Lyle Howard Marshall Moore, (1899-1982), real estate agent and president of the Liberal Party of Australia, was born on 8 September 1899 in Hobart, eldest of three children of William Howard Moore, fruit merchant, and his wife Adela Louise Mary, née Bayliss. After attending Sydney Grammar School, Lyle worked for a wool store. In 1927 he established a business in Sydney with his brother Colin—Moore Bros Pty Ltd, Real Estate Agency—and later became chairman of H. W. Horning & Co. Pty Ltd.

An active member of the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales from 1935, Moore was elected president (1945-50). He was also president (1947-56) of the Associated Real Estate Institutes and Agents Associations of Australia. In 1947 he was elected to the council of the Auctioneers, Stock and Station Agents, Real Estate Agents (and Business Agents), chairing it from 1964 to 1979. A life member of both the State and federal real estate institutes, he served on the New South Wales Valuation Board of Review.

Tall, solidly built, bespectacled and balding, Moore attracted broader public notice in the postwar years by attacking Federal and State Australian Labor Party governments for maintaining wartime controls that discriminated against property owners by pegging rents and restricting profits on sales. He established a close relationship with the press in the late 1940s, writing a regular real-estate column in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Moore was active in local government, serving as an alderman (1932-35) at Hunters Hill and as an alderman (1936-48) and mayor (1941) at Woollahra. In addition, he developed interests in insurance and in the pastoral industry. He was a director of Prince Henry Hospital and the Benevolent Society of New South Wales, a member of the appeals committee of the State division of the Australian Red Cross Society and president (1954-56) of the Old Sydneians’ Union. In 1954 he was appointed CBE.

In 1945 Moore had joined the new Liberal Party of Australia, later becoming vice-president of the Wentworth federal electorate conference. Succeeding (Sir) William Spooner, he was elected president of the State division in 1950; he held this post until 1956. He clashed with the State parliamentary leader, Murray Robson, over Robson’s defiance of the party organisation in relation to triangular contests with the State Country Party. Like Spooner, Moore sought an amalgamation with the Country Party and reacted to that party’s rejection with a call for the Liberal Party to contest any rural seat it wished. His view prevailed in the Liberal Party’s State council in 1956.

Moore was an interventionist State president, seeming to ignore the convention whereby the president, as ‘chairman of the board’, allowed the general secretary, in this case (Sir) John Carrick, to manage the division’s affairs and interceded only to provide support, offer advice and ease tensions. Lacking the social standing, service record, political skills and gravitas of other early State presidents, Moore never commanded the respect within the State Liberal Party that he did in the real estate industry.

Nonetheless Moore succeeded (Sir) William Anderson as federal president in 1956. His desire for the Liberal Party to become ‘a truly national Party’ led to quarrels with the New South Wales division as Moore sought to enhance the role of the federal bodies in a party where the divisions valued their semi-autonomous and self-financing status. As federal president until November 1960, Moore was ever ready to praise (Sir) Robert Menzies. After the near electoral defeat of 1961, however, and while still a member of the federal executive, he complained of the prime minister’s ‘arrogance’ and of the expectation that the executive existed merely ‘to pay tribute’.

Moore’s adherence to Liberal principles was probably influenced by his business background. In 1952 he explained those principles in terms of opposition to ‘class hatred as the ugly and destructive weapon of Communist and Socialist wreckers’. Liberals, he said, ‘are interested in one great class only, the customer’. In 1960, when some party officials wanted to stress the Liberals’ dedication ‘to political liberty and the freedom and dignity of man’, Moore defended the record of the Menzies government by pointing out that the ‘customer’ now enjoyed higher material living standards and economic progress.

Moore had married Phyllis Evans Goulding on 16 September 1922 at the Congregational Church, Hunters Hill; she died in 1952. On 17 March 1954 at All Saints’ Church, Woollahra, he married with Anglican rites Patricia Lilian Rickards, his secretary. Survived by his wife and the daughter and three sons of his first marriage, he died on 31 May 1982 at Killara and was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • K. West, Power in the Liberal Party (1965)
  • I. Hancock, National and Permanent? (2000) and The Liberals (2007)
  • Real Estate Journal (Sydney), Mar-Apr 1974, p 10
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 1 June 1982, p 11
  • Liberal Party of Aust (Federal) records (National Library of Australia)
  • Liberal Party of Aust (New South Wales) records (State Library of New South Wales)
  • private information.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

I. R. Hancock, 'Moore, Lyle Howard (1899–1982)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2012, accessed online 14 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 18, (Melbourne University Press), 2012

View the front pages for Volume 18

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