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Sir Frederick William Young (1876–1948)

by R. E. Northey

This article was published:

Sir Frederick William Young (1876-1948), politician, was born on 5 January 1876 at Blyth, South Australia, son of John Young, storekeeper and later pastoralist, and his wife Isabella, née Russell. His elder brother was (Sir) Walter James Young. Frederick attended Prince Alfred College in 1889-92. Articled to the solicitor William Pope in 1893, next year he entered the University of Adelaide (LL.B., 1897) and was Stow scholar. He was admitted to the Bar in 1898 and became a senior partner in the firm of Young & Newland. On 7 December 1904 at the Flinders Street Baptist Church, Adelaide, he married Florence (d.1947), daughter of the 'Wheat King' John Darling.

Tall, spare, though well-built, with a quiet, deliberate manner of speaking that was relieved by humour and a winning address, Young was member for Stanley in the South Australian House of Assembly in 1902-05 and for Wooroora in 1909-15. In the Peake Liberal ministry he was commissioner of crown lands and immigration in 1912-14. Young supported the expansion of railways as part of his policy to open up areas for settlement along the Murray River and Eyre Peninsula. An early protagonist of the State's sponsorship of the immigration of British youths to work on the land, he initiated the Immigration Act (1913), eventually implemented in the 1920s.

In 1915-18 Young was South Australian agent-general in London. Knighted in January 1918, he was appointed commander of the Order of the Crown of Belgium in 1919 for services during World War I. In December 1918 he was elected to the House of Commons as a Coalition Unionist for Swindon (Wiltshire); he did not seek re-election in 1922. Young remained in England directing British and Australian banking and pastoral interests, but occasionally visited Australia. He became a director of the English, Scottish and Australian Bank in 1919 and chairman in 1946; a board-member of the Australian Estates and Mortgage Co. in 1924, he was its chairman in 1937. Following the Depression, in the late 1930s he encouraged the expansion of Australian primary exports and the development of Australian secondary industry; he also advocated increasing the Australian population through immigration, especially from Britain, and from Europe. He had stressed the need for Imperial preference in trade and for committed membership of the British Empire to guarantee Australia's defence. Survived by his only son, Sir Frederick died at Buckingham Gate, London, on 26 August 1948. His estate was sworn for probate in England at £12,525.

Select Bibliography

  • British Australasian, 21 May 1914, 11 Mar 1915
  • Journal of Historical Society of South Australia, no 14, 1986, p 137
  • Mail (Adelaide), 30 Nov 1912, 30 Jan 1915
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 2 Jan, 21, 30 Dec 1918, 30 May 1919, 28 Nov 1934, 25 July 1935, 23 July 1936, 29 Jan 1937, 26 Dec 1938, 9 Dec 1947
  • Advertiser (Adelaide), 27 Aug 1948
  • Times (London), 27 Aug 1948.

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Citation details

R. E. Northey, 'Young, Sir Frederick William (1876–1948)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 15 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (Melbourne University Press), 1990

View the front pages for Volume 12

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