McARTHUR, Fergus 'Stewart' AM

Modified on Tue, 25 Sep 2018 11:18 by Con — Categorized as: Biography - All, Biography - Collegians in the News 1911-1960, Biography - OGCA Gallery of Notable Old Collegians, Biography - Students, Geelong College, Biography of Government, Administration and Politics, Z Active

Stewart McArthur.

Stewart McArthur.

McARTHUR, Fergus 'Stewart' AM

A member of an illustrious Western District family, ‘Stewart’ McArthur represented the Corangamite electors in the Australian House of Representatives for over twenty years from February, 1984 to 2007. His association with Geelong College not only includes his time as a student but also a lifetime committment to College rowing and membership of the Geelong College Council for twenty three years from 1965 to 1988.

Fergus ‘Stewart’ McArthur has been a member of the Liberal Party since 1962 and State President from 1982 to 1984. He won the seat of Corangamite at a by-election on 18 February, 1984 following the resignation of th Hon A A Street. He was victorious in eight subsequent elections. Stewart was defeated in the 2007 election. Prime Minister, John Howard also lost his own seat of Bennelong at that same election which brought Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party to power. Stewart served as Government Whip in the House of Representatives for the Howard Government from 1996 to 2007.

In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours 'Stewart' was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia in recognition of his ‘significant service to the Parliament of Australia, to policy debate in economics, industrial relations and agriculture, and to the community of Victoria’ .

Born in Melbourne on 27 October, 1937, 'Stewart' was the eldest son of Sir Gordon Stewart McArthur (1896-1965), OGC 1915, and Theodosia nee Syme. He boarded at Geelong College from February 1947 to December, 1956. He had earlier been a student at his local primary school, Bookar State School near Camperdown. At Geelong College, he famously stroked the winning 1955 and 1956 Head of the River crews. The coach at that time was Albert Bell - this period began the 'golden' age of College rowing. 'Stewart' was also a member of the 1st XVIII Football Team of 1955 and 1956. He also found time to be a Morrison House Captain and School Prefect in 1955. He was School Captain in 1956. 'Stewart' was awarded the Alexander and John Coto Prize in 1953 and the Principal's Prize in 1956. He was an under-officer and guard commander in the College Cadet Corps. 'Stewart' attended Jesus College, Cambridge University from 1957 to 1960 and graduated MA Cantab. He was secretary of the Jesus College Boat Club and was part of the 1st Lent boat crew which won the Head of the River on the Cam in 1960. 'Stewart' rowed for Jesus College at Henley Royal Regatta for three years and came second to Eton in the Ladies Plate in 1960. He was elected a member of Leander Rowing Club in the same year.

Prior to entering politics 'Stewart' was a cattle and sheep farmer at 'Meningoort' near Camperdown. The property was first settled by his great grandfather, Peter McArthur in 1839. 'Stewart' continues to run the family property.

'Stewart' has spent a lifetime in community service; including extensive involvement in agricultural education. Stewart served on the TAFE board, the Victorian College of Agriculture and Horticulture Council as well as Melbourne University advisory committees. He was Chairman of Marcus Oldham Agricultural College Council from 1976 to 1996. He remains on the Oldham Council. 'Stewart' was involved in agri-politics with the Graziers Association and the Victorian Farmers Federation. He was a longstanding member of the Camperdown Hospital Board.

Running has become an important part of 'Stewart’s life. He regularly competes in half marathons and has competed in the World Masters Games in Melbourne (2002); Sydney (2009); Turin, Italy (2013) where he came 7th in his respective age group in the time of 2.32 minutes at 76 years of age.

'Stewart' McArthur was inducted into the Old Geelong Collegians' Association (OGCA) Notables Gallery at Geelong College in October 2014.

'Stewart' McArthur celebrating after the 1955 Head of the River.

'Stewart' McArthur celebrating after the 1955 Head of the River.

The Governor-General's awards list provides the following association details for 'Stewart' McArthur:

Government Whip, House of Representatives, Parliament of Australia, 1996-2007.
Federal Member for Corangamite, 1984-2007.
Member, Liberal Party of Australia, since 1962.

State President, Victorian Division, Liberal Party of Australia, 1982-1984.
President, Camperdown Branch, 1969-1983.
Chair, Corangamite Electorate Committee, 1975-1982; Wannon-Corangamite Area Conference, 1978-1982.
Member, Western Zone Finance Committee, 1975-1984; Corangamite Finance Committee, 1975-1984; and Hampden-Ripon Campaign Committee, 1972-1984.

Board Member, Faculty of Land and Food Resources (now School of Land and Environment), Melbourne University, 1997-2005.
Council Member, Victorian College of Agriculture and Horticulture, 1983-1997.
Council Member, Geelong College, 1963-1989; Member, Geelong College Boat Club Committee, since 1970.
President, Albert Bell Rowing Supporters Club, Geelong College, 1974-1976.
Council Chairman, Marcus Oldham Farm Management College, 1976-1996; Council Member, since 1975.
Chairman, Victorian Advisory Council on Agriculture Education, 1976-1982.
Member, Victorian Technical and Further Education Board, 1980-1983.

Council Member, Victorian Farmers Federation, 1981-1982.
Chair, Lismore Branch, Graziers Association, 1970-1980.
Council Member, Graziers Association 1976-1980.
Member, Victorian Farmers' and Graziers' Association Council, 1980-1981.
Member, Young Farmers Finance Council, 1979-1982.
Member, H R Nicholls Society, for over 15 years; the Society is dedicated to the reform of Australia's industrial relations system.
Convenor, Stretton Group, since 2004; an apolitical, not-for-profit group established after the 2002/2003 bushfires who support the protection of the natural environment through greater transparency of the public sector processes involved.
Chairman, Geelong Export Network, 1996-2012.
Board President, Camperdown Hospital, 1971-1975; Treasurer, 1969-1971; Committee Member, 1965-1982.
Manager, 'Meningoort' family property, since 1962.

His sons, Andrew Fergus McArthur (1988-2018), and James McArthur were also educated at Geelong College.

Sources: Life After Politics by Ian Kenins. Geelong Times 26 Nov 2013 accessed 31 July 2014; accessed 30 July, 2014; In the Genes: McArthur born for political service. by Mary Alexander Warrnambool Standard 9 June, 2014 accessed 31 July, 2014; Fergus 'Stewart' McArthur 22 Oct, 2014. OGC 1956.