Bright, John


Bright, John
Birth Date: 16 November 1811 (Greenbank, Rochdale, Lancashire)
Death Date: 27 March 1889 (One Ash, Rochdale, Lancashire)
Parents: Jacob Bright and Mary (nee Wood)
Family: (2) Margaret Elizabeth Leatham on 10 June 1847 4 sons, 3 daughters, (1) Elizabeth Preistman in November 1839, 1 daughter
Education: Educated at a number of Quaker schools in North England
Religion: Quaker


Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1881 until retiring in 1882

Parliamentary Representation

House Party Electorate From To Elected/Departure Reason
Assembly NONE Kennedy 10 Jul 1869 8 Jul 1870 Did not take his seat

Additional Information

Notes: It was this religion which shaped his ideals that fuelled a life-long commitment to end the social, political and religious ineqalities of the period. He was a prominent leader of many campaigns - the abolition of payment of compulsory taxes to the Anglican Church; the repeal of the Corn Laws which artificially maintained high prices for the benefit of landowners; a less authoritarian British rule in India; support for the Union forces against the slave-owning Confederacy; and major reforms of the British parliamentary system. John Bright's connection to Queensland is through a most bizarre indicent in July 1869, when the constituents of Kennedy elected him as their representive. Bright never visited Australia in his lifetime and probably was unaware of his connection with the Queensland parliament. In the mid 1860s a strong separation movement had begun to dominate the politics of north and central Queensland. In the 1867 general election, because of dissatisfaction with local candidates and their commitment to pursue separation policies, a John Bright Committee was formed in Rockhampton.  Although the committee realised that John Bright, if elected, could not personally attend sittings of the Queensland parliament, it was felt that as a radical member of the House of Commons, he was better placed to present North Queensland separatist policies to the British government. At the 1867 election, John Bright only polled 17 votes. However, at an 1869 by-election for the Kennedy electorate, John Bright was overwhelmingly nominated as a candidate by the electors of Bowen who had formed a separation league. This was done as a protest vote because none of the other local candidates had bothered to visit them. John Bright was duly elected with a one-vote win over the local candidate, Michael Cunningham. John Bright, as the member for Kennedy, never presented himself to be sworn between July 1869 and July 1870. So after one year, as required by the colony's constitution, the seat was declared vacant and another by-election was called at which Rockhampton lawyer Edward MacDevitt was elected
Sources: Imaged sourced from "Life and Times of the Right Hon. John Bright" by William Robertson, 1889; Bernays, CA, `The Right Honourable John Bright, P.C.', Queensland Politics During Sixty (1859-1919) Years, (Brisbane: AJ Cumming, Government Printer); Waterson, DB, Biographical Register of the Queensland Parliament: 1860-1929, 2nd revised edition (Sydney: Casket Publications, 2001)
[Last Modified: Tuesday, 27 June 2017]