Australian Dictionary of Biography

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Samuel Wilkinson Moore (1854–1935)

by John Atchison

This article was published:

Samuel Wilkinson Moore (1854-1935), mine manager and politician, was born on 7 February 1854 at Bua, Vanua Levu, Fiji, son of Rev. William Moore, Wesleyan minister, and his wife Mary Ann, née Ducker. The family arrived in Sydney in 1864. Sammy was educated at Newington College and was a student teacher (assistant master) at G. Metcalfe's private Goulburn High School in 1870-72.

Moving to the Tingha-Inverell district in 1873, Moore established a strong following among miners. With his father, Jasper Tyson and Rev. Francis Tate, he formed the Britannia Tin Mining Co. Building a verandahed, weatherboard house which survives, Moore was manager, leading assayer of minerals and chief tin-buyer for Britannia. Appointed a justice of the peace in 1879, he carried the burden of magisterial work for the local court for several years. On 18 June 1876 he married Isabella Leah Sawkins, at Tingha. A strong batsman, Moore scored highly for both Inverell club and for New England against A. Shaw's and the Hon. Ivo Bligh's English elevens in the early 1880s.

A free trader and supporter of Sir Henry Parkes, Moore was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Inverell in 1885 and held the seat in 1887. Although criticized for being motivated by 'personal aggrandisement' he was widely regarded as a very capable member and an 'upright and faithful steward' to his constituents. His advocacy of the Inverell-Glen Innes railway occasioned comment about his land and mining speculations along the proposed route. He served on the Board of Technical Education in 1886-87.

Moore did not seek re-election in 1889, but represented Bingara in 1894-1910, first as a supporter of (Sir) George Reid, then as a Liberal from 1901. Although ideology made him unpopular with most small landholders, he found strong support from the influential Forster family at Abington, Bundarra. A member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works in 1901-04, Moore joined the Carruthers ministry as secretary for mines and agriculture in August 1904. Hard-working, he carried into effect 'much needed relief and improvement' in the mining industry. When (Sir) Charles Gregory Wade took over as premier in October 1907, Moore became secretary for lands. He implemented the first compulsory Crown acquisition in 1908 under the Closer Settlement (Amendment) Act (1907) on 99,618 acres (40,314 ha) of the Peel estate from the Peel River Land and Mineral Co. and then, under the same Act, the acquisition of 45,006 acres (18,213 ha) at Warrah from the Australian Agricultural Co. F. L. Livingstone-Learmonth found Moore firm but fair in his determination to administer legislation opposed by large landholders.

Defeated at the 1910 general election, Moore was appointed a commissioner of the Western Land Board. After retirement in 1922 he lived at Roseville where he died on 15 February 1935; he was cremated with Methodist forms. His wife, son and four daughters survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • Our Present Parliament (Syd, nd, 1886?)
  • W. F. Morrison, The Aldine Centennial History of New South Wales (Syd, 1888)
  • G. N. Hawker, The Parliament of New South Wales, 1856-1965 (Syd, 1971)
  • E. Wiedemann, World of its Own (Inverell, NSW, 1981)
  • H. Brown, Tin at Tingha (Armidale, 1982)
  • A. Harris, Abington, a History of a Station and its People (Armidale, 1982)
  • Department of Mines (New South Wales), Annual Report, 1876, 1877, 1881
  • Sydney Mail, 9 Feb 1889
  • Armidale Express, 19 May 1891
  • Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 28 July 1894
  • Town and Country Journal, 7 Sept 1904, 21 Aug 1907
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 2 Dec 1922, 18 Feb 1935.

Citation details

John Atchison, 'Moore, Samuel Wilkinson (1854–1935)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 21 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (Melbourne University Press), 1986

View the front pages for Volume 10

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


7 February, 1854
Bua, Vanua Levu, Fiji


15 February, 1935 (aged 81)
Roseville, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.