The Hon. Thomas John LEY (1880 - 1947)

Birth and Death

  • Date of Birth: 28/10/1880
  • Place of Birth: Bath, England
  • Date of Death: 24/07/1947
  • Place of Death: Crowthorne, Berkshire, England


Parliamentary Service

Position Start End Period Parliament Notes
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly24 Mar 191729 Sep 19258yr(s) 6mth(s) 6day(s)
Member for Hurstville24 Mar 191718 Feb 19202yr(s) 10mth(s) 26day(s)24th (1917 - 1920)
Member for St George20 Mar 192017 Feb 19221yr(s) 10mth(s) 29day(s)25th (1920 - 1922)
Member for St George25 Mar 192218 Apr 19253yr(s) 25day(s)26th (1922 - 1925)
Member for St George30 May 192529 Sep 19254mth(s)27th (1925 - 1927)
Minister of Public Instruction and Labour and Industry20 Dec 192120 Dec 19211day(s)
Minister of Justice13 Apr 192217 Jun 19253yr(s) 2mth(s) 5day(s)


Political Party Activity

Elected as a National in 1917; Progressive in 1920; councillor in 1922; joined National Ministry in 1922


Community Activity

Councillor of Millions Club 1918; Protestant Federation 1921 - 1925.


Qualifications, occupations and interests

Lawyer (solicitor); and businessman. Arrived in New South Wales with his mother in 1886, his father having died in 1882. Clerk with Norton, Smith & Co, solicitors. Advocate of prohibition and involved in the temperance movement; was nicknamed "Lemonade Ley". Articled to F.Osborne in 1906; admitted as a solicitor in 1914; member of the legal firm Norton, Smith & Co. 1917 - 1925; and of Ley, Andrews & Co. 1926 - 1928. Director of Universal Sales Company Ltd; promoted S.O.S Prickly Pear Poisons Ltd and Australasian Oil Fields Ltd 1924 - 1925. Rumoured to have been associated with the disappearance of F.A McDonald who had alleged a bribery attempt during the 1925 federal elections; and to have avoided legal action over one of his companies by the death of Hyman Goldstein Member of the Legislative Assembly in September 1928. After his electoral defeat went to England; promoted a million pound sweepstake; was a wartime black marketeer, convicted of murder in 1947 (the "Chalkpit Murder"); declared insane and committed to Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum where he died.


Membership of other Parliaments & Offices Held

Member of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. Member of the House of Representatives for Barton 1925 - 1928.


Local Government Activity

Alderman at Hurstville Council 1904 - 1910.



Son of Henry Ley, butler, and his wife Elizabeth Bryant. Married Louise Vernon on 16 June 1898 and they had 3 sons. Methodist.


Additional Information

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10. Dan Morgan, 'The Minister for Murder', 1979. Ley Papers, National Library of Australia.


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