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Alf Morgans


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Alf Morgans
Alfred Edward Morgans (17 February 1850–10 August 1933) was Premier of Western Australia for just 32 days, from 21 November to 23 December 1901.

Early life in Wales
Alf Morgans was born at Ochr Churith Machen Lower, Machen, Monmouthshire in Wales on 17 February 1850. He was educated at private schools and at the Welsh School of Mines, and later was apprenticed to a mechanical engineering firm at Ebbw Vale.

On 19 March 1872, he married Fanny Ridler at Gloucester in England.

Early career in Mexico and Central America 1878 to 1896
In 1878, Morgans' employers sent him to Mexico to supervise their gold and silver mines. He worked in Central America 18 years, during which time he learned to speak Spanish fluently, and developed an interest in Mexico's natural and archeological history. He unearthed a number of Aztec pieces, some of which he donated to the British Museum.

Move to Australia 1896
Morgans moved to Western Australia in 1896 as a representative of Morgans' Syndicate Ltd, to inspect mining properties for London capitalists looking for sound investment opportunities. He acquired numerous properties and mining interests throughout the state, including Westralia Mount Morgans, and he was widely considered an authority on mining investment.

Election to Australian Parliament
On 4 May 1897, Morgans was elected to the Legislative Assembly seat of Coolgardie.

In parliament, he was a supporter of Premier Sir John Forrest. After Forrest resigned from state politics, the former supporters of Forrest continued to work together, and were known as ministerialists. In November 1901, the ministerialists defeated Premier George Leake on a no-confidence vote, and he was compelled to resign. However, they were initially unable to agree on a nominee for premier, and when the governor invited Frederick Henry Piesse to form a government, he could not secure enough support.

Premier of Western Australia
The ministerialists eventually agreed on Morgans as a compromise candidate, and he took office as premier and colonial treasurer on 21 November 1901, despite having never previous held any ministerial office.

But in the subsequent ministerial by-election, supporters of Leake stood against Morgans' newly appointed cabinet, and three of the six new ministers were defeated. Morgans then asked Governor Lawley for a dissolution of the Assembly, but this was refused. He resigned as premier on 23 December 1901, and Leake took office again, this time with much clearer support. Morgans did not re-nominate at the subsequent election.

Diplomatic career
Alf Morgans' life after politics consisted of a number of consular-diplomatic appointments in Western Australia. From 1910 to 1917, he was Austro-Hungarian Consul for Western Australia; in 1915 he was also Vice-Consul for Spain. From 1918 to 1920 he was a member of the North Fremantle Municipal Council. From 1918 to 1920 he was also acting Consular Agent for the United States of America, after which he was Consular Agent for the United States until 1930.

He died on 10 August 1933 at South Perth in Western Australia.


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