Death of Former Member, J. A. Perkins

20 July 1954 The Braidwood Review and District Advocate  

Mr. John Arthur Perkins, a former member for Eden-Monaro in the Federal Parliament and a Minister in the Lyons and Menzies Government, died at his home in Manly on Tuesday morning, at the age of 76 years.

Mr. Perkins was given a State funeral on Thursday.

 After a service in the Methodist Church, Manly, the cortege left for the Northern Suburbs Crematorium.       

The late Mr. Perkins was born at Tumut, and received his education at Cooma, becoming a mixed farmer, and   later a newsagent at the town.

He was Mayor of Cooma in 1904 and 1908, and a member of the Local Land Board at Cooma for 14 years.    

He was a past Grand Master and   a member of the Board of Directors of the M.U.I.O.O.F. (N.S.W.). Mr. Perkins entered the N.S.W. Legislative Assembly in 1921 as member for Goulburn.

 He resigned in 1926 to successfully contest the Eden-Monaro seat in the House of Representatives at a by-election caused by the death of Sir Austin Chapman.

During his years of Parliamentary service, he held the Ministerial officers of Government Whip, Assistant Minister for Trade and Customs, Minister for the Interior, Minister for Trade and Customs, and Minister for External Affairs.    

He lost the Eden-Monaro seat at the 1929 elections, when the Scullin Labour Government replaced the Bruce-Page administration, but won again in 1931and remained in the seat until 1943 when he was defeated   by the Labor candidate, Mr. Allan Fraser.

With this defeat Mr. Perkins retired from politics.        

He is survived by his widow.

The late John Arthur Perkins was accepted as a good member by the community in his electorate, and one vitally interested in the welfare of his electorate and constituents.

The Perkin’s Papers

Discovery and donation of the papers

When Evelyn Perkins moved from Manly to Strathfield in 1960 the research papers her husband had intended to donate to the ‘Historical Society' (Perkins does not specify which one) were disposed of at the local rubbish tip where an alert visitor found them packed in a suitcase and rescued them.

The original typescripts were donated to the Mitchell Library soon afterwards while the duplicate carbon copies were donated to SAG.

They were transferred from SAG's newspaper cuttings collection to our Primary Records collection in November 1990 together with a miscellaneous collection of unrelated scrapbooks.


When Perkins moved to Sydney in 1943 he began to collate information from material available in the Mitchell Library.

He cited his sources as accurately as possible and listed them at the head of the page so most of them can be located and checked by today's researcher.

When a source is not specific he was as accurate as he could be under the circumstances. He had no call number, for instance, for one particularly useful scrapbook in the Mitchell Library.

Perkins called this source Book of Cuttings in the Mitchell Library. In the later volumes when he was using newspaper almost exclusively he grouped all the references from the one source together.

One work page has survived to show his methodology. After listing his two main sources for Governor Bourke's trip to Twofold Bay in 1835 he typed a note reminding himself to check other papers for an account of the trip.

Geographical range

Perkins cast his net rather widely in his early volumes and included information for areas south of Goulburn, the South Coast and the Upper Murray River.

This covered his seat of Eden-Monaro. In doing so he placed his Monaro and Tumut/Adelong material in its appropriate context as part of an expanding frontier followed by a period of consolidation.

Once some form of settlement had occurred the sources provided names for these new localities and Perkins was able to focus more on his area of interest.

Towards the end of his research Perkins focused on the local newspaper as a source of information and failed to consult neighbouring papers

The Society of Australian Genealogists was established in 1932 and is the oldest family history society in Australia.