Representatives > John Solomon Rosevear

John Solomon Rosevear

John Solomon Rosevear (1892-1953), timber machinist and politician, was the seventh child of William and Maria Rosevear. William was a foundation member of the ALP and a member of Billy Hughes’s Pyrmont committee. Sol was educated at Pyrmont Public School, then worked in the timber industry, where he became a skilled machinist. As a shop steward he unionised his whole workshop.

In 1916, he married Clara May White at St Bartholomew's Church.

After the year-long timber workers' strike of 1929 he was blacklisted and his family relied on his relief work.

In 1929 Sol Rosevear campaigned in the seat of Dalley (Balmain, Glebe and Leichhardt) for E.G. Theodore of the ALP. Two years later, following a split in the Labor Party, he stood against Theodore and won the seat as a supporter of Jack Lang and Jack Beasley.  He held that seat until he died. When Labor reunited and came to power in 1941, Sol was made Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1943.  

Assessments of his Speakership depend mainly on political affiliations. He had scant sympathy for opposition members, and his rulings were often partisan - but most MPs were gratified that he increased their salaries and improved their working conditions.  Some also enjoyed the gambling that he organised illegally. Opposition MPs resented his temper and intemperate language: they believed that he was often drunk in the Speaker’s Chair. His entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography describes his funeral.  When the clergyman praised him as a 'great national leader and statesman', a 'devout Christian' and a 'highly moral character', Fred Daly remarked audibly, 'By God, we're burying the wrong man'

Sol Rosevear

Bill Riordan, John Rosevear, Arthur Calwell and Eddie Ward outside Parliament House, Canberra, 1945

Bill Riordan, John Rosevear, Arthur Calwell and Eddie Ward outside Parliament House, Canberra, 1945