Rex Patterson

The Honourable
Rex Patterson
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Dawson
In office
26 February 1966  13 December 1975
Preceded by George Shaw
Succeeded by Ray Braithwaite
Personal details
Born (1927-01-08)8 January 1927
Bundaberg, Queensland
Died 13 April 2016(2016-04-13) (aged 89)
Mackay, Queensland[1]
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Alma mater University of Queensland
Australian National University
University of Illinois
University of Chicago

Rex Alan Patterson (8 January 1927 – 13 April 2016) was an Australian politician and minister.

Early life, war service and education

Rex Patterson was born in Bundaberg, Queensland on 8 January 1927.[2] He enlisted for war service on 22 February 1945 in Brisbane, Queensland, during the final months of World War II.[2] He served with the Royal Australian Air Force and was discharged on 25 September 1945.[2]

He was educated at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago.[3]

Political career

Patterson was elected as an Australian Labor Party member for the House of Representatives seat of Dawson, Queensland at a by-election in 1966. When the Whitlam government was elected at the December 1972 election, he was appointed Minister for Northern Development, responsible for the Department of Northern Development, charged with "overall policy and co-ordination in the development of all of Australia north of the 26th parallel". In this role, Patterson was concerned with the Australian sugar and beef industries as well as the specialised development and utilisation of land, water and minerals in northern Australia.[4]

On 19 October 1973, he was sworn in as Minister for the Northern Territory by Queen Elizabeth II, the only occasion when an Australian minister has been sworn in by the Monarch of Australia directly (rather than by the Governor-General of Australia).[5]

On Christmas Day, 1974, the day after Cyclone Tracy, he flew into Darwin with Major-General Alan Stretton and they took responsibility for rebuilding Darwin. In June 1975, Patterson's portfolios were combined and retitled as Minister for Northern Australia.

On 14 October 1975, following Rex Connor's resignation from the ministry, he became Minister for Agriculture. He lost this position when the government was dismissed on 11 November, and lost his seat in the subsequent election.[3][6] He died on 13 April 2016.[1]


  1. 1 2 Kippen, Troy (2016-04-13). "Former politician Rex Patterson has died in Mackay aged 89". Daily Mercury. Retrieved 2016-04-29.
  2. 1 2 3 "Service record - Patterson, Rex Alan". WW2 Nominal Roll. Department of Veterans' Affairs, Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  3. 1 2 Who's who in Australia. North Melbourne: Crown Content. 2008. p. 2303. ISBN 1-74095-160-3.
  4. CA 1483: Department of Northern Development, Central Office, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 19 March 2016
  5. Jenny Hocking, Gough Whitlam: His Time Updated Edition. Retrieved 20 September 2015
  6. "Members of the House of Representatives since 1901". Parliamentary Handbook. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 17 November 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
Political offices
Preceded by
Lance Barnard
Minister for Northern Development
Merged into Northern
Australia portfolio
Preceded by
Kep Enderby
Minister for the Northern Territory/
Minister for Northern Australia

Succeeded by
Paul Keating
Preceded by
Ken Wriedt
Minister for Agriculture
Succeeded by
Ian Sinclair
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
George Shaw
Member for Dawson
Succeeded by
Ray Braithwaite
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