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Members’ biographical register

Mr Hendy John Cowan

Principal Honours
Centenary Medal awarded 1 January 2001 for service to the Western Australian Parliament and to international trade
Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) awarded 9 June 2014 for distinguished service to the Parliament of Western Australia, to tertiary education, agriculture and regional development, and through significant contributions to cancer control organisations
Date: 25 April 1943
Place: Merredin, Western Australia
Arrival in WA
Son of James William Halley, farmer, and Ruth Anderson and great–nephew of Edith Dircksey Cowan
Marriage and Family
Married 2 January 1965, St Paul’s Church, Narembeen to Anita Joy Treloar, daughter of Richard Stephen and Sarah Louise Bailey
Children: one son and one daughter
Cause of Death:
Church of England
Mt Walker Primary School and Hale School until 1959
Murdoch University, Hon D Science
Edith Cowan University 2003, Hon D Commerce
Employment History
After leaving school farmed with father, brothers and sisters in Mount Walker district of Narembeen Shire
After leaving politics returned to farming
Local Government Service
National Country Party (1978)
National Party Western Australia (1978-1984)
National Party Australia
Country Party, National Country Party then National Party
Date Elected
30 March 1974
Inaugural Speech
Cowan, Hendy John, Inaugural Speech.pdf
Inaugural Video
No inaugural video is available as filming did not start until May 2003
Search for speeches by Hendy Cowan
Valedictory Speech
Cowan, Hendy John, Valedictory Speech.pdf
Year Retired/Resigned
Merredin-Yilgarn; Merredin
Parliamentary Service

  • MLA Merredin–Yilgarn, 30 March 1974–19 February 1977. Elected to the Twenty-eighth Parliament for Merredin-Yilgarn on 30 March 1974 in succession to James McMillan Brown (defeated). Electorate abolished in redistribution 1975.
  • MLA Merredin 19 February 1977–16 Ọctober 2001. Elected to the Twenty-ninth Parliament for Merredin (new seat) on 19 February 1977. Re-elected 1980, 1983, 1986, 1989, 1993, 1996, 2001. Father of the House from 14 December 1996. Resigned 16 October 2001.

  • Secretary Parliamentary National Country Party 1975–1978
  • Leader of National Party August 1978–3 April 2001
  • National Party Shadow Minister for Treasury, Resources Development, Mines, Fuel and Energy, Economic Development and Trade, Public Sector Management and North West March 1989–24 November 1992
  • Coalition Deputy Leader, Shadow Minister for Economic Development and Trade, and member Coalition Management Team 24 November 1992–16 February 1993
  • Deputy Premier and Minister for Commerce and Trade 16 February 1993–10 February 1995
  • Deputy Premier and Minister for Commerce and Trade, Regional Development, and Small Business 10 February 1995–15 February 2001

  • Member Public Accounts Committee 13 August 1975–7 September 1978
  • Member Select Committees on Energy and Resources 25 Ọctober 1989–12 November 1991
  • On the Official Corruption Commission Act 1988 27 November 1991–5 March 1992
  • On the Recommendations of the Official Corruption Commission Act 1988 26 May–24 September 1992
  • Joint Select Committees on Constitutional Reform 5 June 1990–24 Ọctober 1991

Historical Notes
  • Father of the Legislative Assembly 14 December 1996–16 Ọctober 2001

  • Contested Senate (Western Australia) 10 November 2001
Private Member's Bills
Chairman State Agricultural Biotech Centre Board of Management (Murdoch University) from 2001
Chairman Board of Management Nationally Networked tele-testing facility Edith Cowan University

Chancellor Edith Cowan University 2004–2018
Member Board Cancer Foundation 2001
Vice president Cancer Foundation 2002

Member Western Australian Farmers Federation
Held various posts in Narembeen football, tennis, golf and basketball clubs

Captain/coach of Narembeen football team in several premierships and life member of football club
Black, David and Geoffrey Bolton. Biographical register of members of the Parliament of Western Australia: volume two 1930-2010, p. 53.
"ECU says farewell to Hendy Cowan", Edith Cowan University website, Friday 19 October 2018.
Its' an Honour website Accessed 7 February 2019.
National News, August 1988.
O'Shea, Ben, "Hendy bows out", West Australian, 22 October 2018, p. 2.
West Australian, 1 April 1988, 4 April 2001.
Further Information
Cowan, Hendy John, Oral History.pdfCowan, Hendy John, Oral History.pdf