Wednesday, December 23, 2009

David Brand

David Brand. Who are you?

I'm going to guess he's either a former Premier of Western Australia. Or maybe he's the Chief Minister of one of the territories. I know I just recently looked up the latter, and I should remember the name. But what can I say? I've already forgotten.

Well, it was the first one that's correct. David Brand is a former Premier of Western Australia. I figured it might be the same as what I did with Tasmania....add the current Premier to my list, and then a former one.

David Brand is pretty far in the past. He was the Premier from 1959 to 1971. I wonder why I chose to write about him, rather than someone more current. Maybe there's something exciting about him. I hope so!

Lord Wiki says that Baby David was born on 1 August 1912 in Dongara Western Australia.

Dongara is now known as the rock lobster capitol of Australia.

What is rock lobster?

Well, I googled. There's a B-52 song called Rock Lobster. I wonder if they play that song at events in Dongara.

Now I'm going to look at Google Maps. Dongara is about four hours north of Perth. It's coastal, and near a town called Port Denison. I thought that sounded familiar. Then I realized I'm thinking of Fort Denison in Sydney. I'm guessing the two are named after the same person/thing.

Well, the City of Sydney website says the Fort was named after the Governor of New South Wales. Would it have made sense for a town, in Western Australia, to be named after a New South Wales Governor? I don't know.

But I'm getting way off track here.

Let me get back to Brand.

He was the eldest of four children. His father was a farmer. His mother was the daughter of a prominent geologist. Mr. Geologist (Samuel Mitchell) was also a politician. He had been in the Legislative Assembly from 1897 to 1901, via the seat of Murchison.

It seems Daddy and Mommy Brand didn't spend too long in Dongara. At some time in Brand's childhood, the family moved about two hours north-east to Northampton. The closest town to there that I recognize is Geraldton. It's about forty-five minutes away.

When Brand was about twelve, his family moved further east (and inland) to a town called Mullewa.

In all these towns, the family did the farming thing.

When Brand was fourteen, he dropped out of school to help with the farm. I guess he got into that farming thing wholeheartedly.  He joined the Primary Producer's Association, and became secretary of the organization.

In 1935, Brand went off to live in Kalgoorlie. That would have been during The Great Depression. I wonder if that's why he find work.

Lord Wiki says he ended up working at the Golden Horseshoe Mine. It seems that there he had a variety of jobs. When not busy with those jobs, he kept active in the Methodist Church, and was a scoutmaster.

Then World War II happened. Brand got himself involved with that. He joined the Australian Imperial Force. He fought in the North African Campaign, and the Greece Campaign. In 1941, he got hurt and was sent back to Australia. About a year after treatments, he was discharged from the army because of his injuries. But then it looks like he eventually got back into it all again. I guess his injuries healed. Well, he didn't go back to the war, I don't think. Instead he became a military instructor in Geraldton.

During his time in the Geraldton Military, he met a woman and got married. Their wedding was at the Methodist Church in Mingenew. Mingenew is about two hours south-east of Geraldton. I wonder why they decided to have the wedding there. Was the church very beautiful or something? Maybe there was no Methodist church in Geraldton. Oh! I know. Maybe Mingenew is where the bride's family lived. Yeah. That would make sense.

Once Brand was discharged from the army...well because the war was ending, he and his wife moved back to Dongara. There he took over the general store. I wonder why he decided to return to his birthplace....

Okay. Now we get to the politics. There had been a Labor guy in the seat of Greenough. He died in war action. Brand and the guy's brother competed for the seat. Brand won. Lord Wiki says Brand was the first person to win an election from the newly formed Liberal Party. The first ever? Wow. That's a pretty big deal.

I want to see if the Liberal Party website backs that fact up. Yeah. I'm not trusting the information completely. I fear either Lord Wiki is giving me the wrong information, or I'm misinterpreting it.

Well, they say that the Liberal Party won state government leadership in 1947 in Western Australia, South Australia, and Victoria. I guess Western Australia could have been first of those.

Oh wait. I'm being dumb. The Liberal Party website is talking about state leadership....Premier stuff. That didn't happen until 1947. Lord Wiki is saying that Brand won an election just to get into Parliament. I guess he was the first. And that would be back in 1945. Well, I'm not sure where to go to verify that information. I'll take Lord Wiki's word for it for now. If anyone knows anything otherwise, please tell me.

I do see that Lord Wiki has made a mistake here though. He says the first Liberal Premier happened in 1949....Mr. Ross McLarty. That's not what the Liberal Party website said. AND on Lord Wiki's Premier of Western Australia entry, he contradicts himself and says McLarty's Premiership began in 1947.

Anyway, once McLarty was Premier, Brand got some Ministries. I'm not going to list them all. In one of the Ministries (I'm confused which) he helped to establish The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company refinery at Kwinana.

Lord Wiki says this oil company eventually became the British Petroleum Company. Because of the whole global warming issue, the company seems to be branching out into other energy sources. Lord Wiki though says the company does not quite have an environmentally friendly reputation. I had a feeling I'd find something like this. In 1991, the EPA (environmental protection agency, I presume) listed BP as the most polluting company in the United States. Yikes.

At one point, BP was part of an organization called Global Climate Coalition. Their purpose? To promote Global Warming skepticism. A lot of prominent companies belonged to the organization....Ford, Exxon, Texaco, General Motors, etc. The good news is the coalition no longer exists. It slowly disbanded as people realized their companies would look better if they joined the fight against global warming.

In 2002, BP started promoting themselves as a company exploring alternative energy. Are they now environmentally friendly? Maybe. Probably not. In 2009, they were one of the winners of something called The Climate Greenwash Awards. These honors go to companies that pretend to be helping the environment, but are really not helping that much.

For the sake of learning about David Brand....I probably did not need to learn all of that. But I like knowing about these kinds of things.

This website has information about the oil refinery in Kwinana. It says it's the only oil refinery in Western Australia. The oil is used for cars, farm equipment, planes, etc. All other needed oil is imported.

Lord Wiki says that Brand saw the oil refinery as one of his greatest achievements.

I'm looking at Google Maps now. Kwinana is about thirty minutes south of Perth. I like to know where things are.

Back to the political stuff.....

The Labor Party got back in power in 1953. At this time, Brand became Deputy Leader of the party. In 1957, the leader (McLarty) retired, and Brand became Leader. About two years later, Brand became Premier.

There's more earthy stuff here. In 1960, the government lifted its ban on exporting iron. That ban had been in place since 1938. I wonder why.....

I'm looking at Google now. From what I'm seeing, it looks like it had something to do with Japan. Yeah. The John Curtin website talks about it. It seems Japan wanted the iron, and Australia said no.

Once Australia said yes, major iron mining happened. And other mining stuff happened as well. It looks like Western Australia found some wealth doing all this. By 1968, they were able to tell Federal Government that they no longer needed any financial assistance. I wonder if this still holds true today. I remember hearing (maybe in blog comments?) that Western Australia has threatened to make itself an independent country. They have so much wealth, so they don't need the rest of Australia. Will they ever separate themselves? I doubt it.

The mining success gave Brand a good reputation. He won the next few elections. The Liberal Party stayed in power for awhile. But then their glory faded a bit. It seems they put more emphasis on mining and wealth, and less emphasis on services for people in need. They also faced controversy regarding environmental and indigenous issues. On top of that, Western Australia Liberal government had conflicts with the Federal Liberal Party. Lord Wiki says the problem was related to wheat issues.

Brand became a stressed out politician. In 1971, he collapsed when making a speech. The Labor Party got themselves into power. Brand stayed on as party leader until 1973. Then he retired. He died in 1979.

Brand has a few things named after him. There's an electoral Division. Ironically, it seems to always have a Labor person in the seat.

There's a Brand Highway. Lord Wiki says it links Perth to Geraldton.

And there's a Sir David Brand School.

I'm looking at Google News Archives now....seeing if there are any fun treasures in here.

Here's a 1962 Sydney Morning Herald article. It talks about the newly acquired mining wealth of Western Australia. The article says that Western Australia is like Texas. Yeah. We have oil companies, and stuff like that, here too.

Western Australia suddenly found a wealth of resources. I'm sure though that the rapid exploitation of them hasn't always been easy on the environment. That's the way history seems to work. Humans find a resource. They happily exploit it. Environmentalists sound the alarm bells. Greedy people ignore them. Then slowly the general public realizes maybe people in the past should have been a bit more conservative and responsible with the resources.

Lord Wiki lists the big mining industries in Western Australia.

Lead was one of them, but I'm not sure if that's still happening.

Seventy-five percent of Australia's current gold-findings happen in Western Australia.

There's been coal mining.

There was some asbestos mining. Western Australia provided the world with the majority of its asbestos. But then Western Australia closed the mine in 1966...for health reasons. I'm shocked that they put health before greed. I'm sure there's more to the story though.

Lord Wiki says that Australia is the world's main exporter of Iron Ore, and 95% of it comes from Western Australia.

Western Australia provides about thirteen percent of the world's nickel.

It produces a lot of diamonds...has the highest volume of diamonds, in the world, currently. But the diamonds are not frequently of gem-quality. So they're not making the most diamond-money in the world.

Since 2008, bans on Uranium mining have been lifted. I didn't realize that. I actually thought they were still debating whether the bans should be lifted. Well, maybe the debates where on whether the uranium should be exported to certain countries or not.

This conservation website has information on mining's toll on Western Australia's environment. They say in order to do the iron ore mining thing, areas have to be flooded. This can cause some major problems. The other thing the website talks about his how certain materials mined (such as uranium and oil) can be used for purposes that can be incredibly taxing on our planet. Plus, anytime an area is used for industrial purposes, trees are going to be cut down. Natural habitats are going to be destroyed. There's probably going to be an ugly mess.


  1. I think you've done the whole "I don't know what this is but I'll look it up in Wikipedia and get all excited" narrative to death.
    Interesting blog nonetheless.

  2. Anonymous,

    That's so funny you said that because I have a post coming up about the subject in a few days.

    You're welcome to stop reading if you're tired of the content of this blog. In case you didn't already know, this place was never required reading ; )