William Maloney

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Dr William Maloney
William Maloney1.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Melbourne
In office
30 March 1904 – 27 August 1940
Preceded byMalcolm McEacharn
Succeeded byArthur Calwell
Member of the Victorian Parliament
for West Melbourne
In office
1 April 1889 – 1 November 1903
Preceded byGodfrey Carter
Succeeded byTom Tunnecliffe
Personal details
Born(1854-04-12)12 April 1854
West Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died29 August 1940(1940-08-29) (aged 86)
St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Political partyLabor
Minnie Pester (m. 1892–1934)
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne
OccupationMedical doctor

William Robert Nuttall Maloney (12 April 1854 – 29 August 1940)[1] was a long serving Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives for 36 years from 1904 to 1940.

Early life[edit]

Born into a wealthy family in West Melbourne,[1] Maloney was educated in the Melbourne private school system, the University of Melbourne and St Mary's Hospital, London,[2] graduating as a Medical Doctor. Returning to Melbourne in 1888, Maloney divided his time between his obstetrics practice and agitating for social reform. It was during this period that he acquired the nickname that he would retain throughout his life, the Little Doctor.[3]

Dr Will Maloney, John Peter Russell, 1887

In 1883, Maloney joined two young Australian artists, Tom Roberts and John Peter Russell, on a walking tour of France and Spain. He visited Russell in Paris on several occasions, and in July 1887, on his final visit, Russell painted his portrait in the Impressionist style and gave it to him to take home to Australia. It remained in his possession until his death in 1940, and in 1943 came into the possession of the National Gallery of Victoria. Maloney also kept in touch with Roberts, and purchased one of the panels from the 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition of 1889.[4]

Colonial politics[edit]

Elected to the Victorian colonial Legislative Assembly as the Member for West Melbourne in April 1889,[1] Maloney showed his radical nature by introducing one of the first Bills advocating women's suffrage in the British Empire.[3] He also found the time to establish the Medical Institute, which provided free medical treatment for the poorer denizens of Melbourne.

Federal politics[edit]

Maloney in 1931

Maloney resigned from the Assembly in November 1903[1] to stand for the Division of Melbourne at the 1903 federal election, narrowly losing to the opposing Protectionist Party candidate Malcolm McEacharn but, following a protest, largely on irregularities relating to postal votes, the 1903 result was voided and a by election run in 1904, which Maloney duly won.

The Division of Melbourne became a safe Labor seat and Maloney was easily returned in forthcoming elections, including standing unopposed in 1929 and 1937. Retiring before the 1940 election and dying later that same year, he was a Member of Parliament for 36 years without holding ministerial office, the longest period spent as a backbencher by any member of the House of Representatives.


  1. ^ a b c d "Maloney, William Robert Nuttall". re-member: a database of all Victorian MPs since 1851. Parliament of Victoria. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  2. ^ Minutes of the General Medical Council, p. 226.
  3. ^ a b Serle, Geoffrey. "Maloney, William Robert (Nuttall) (1854–1940)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  4. ^ "John Peter Russell's Dr Will Maloney". Art Journal 37. National Gallery of Victoria. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Malcolm McEacharn
Member for Melbourne
Succeeded by
Arthur Calwell