King O’ Malley
by Doug McPhillips
King O’Malley – Legends and mystery surrounds his name and is unravelled in this account of his life. Was he born in Canada or America; and did he found the Waterlily Rockbound Church in frontier America, then live in a cave in Queensland for two years, being nursed back to health by an Aboriginal?
He was a born raconteur, whose political career, super insurance salesmanship, land dealings, and gold speculation were matched only by his Irish charm. His ‘spread eagle’ rhetoric carried him first into State politics then into the Federal parliament where he became Minister for Home Affairs, was instrumental in founding the Commonwealth Bank, overseeing the completion of the transcontinental railway, and establishing Canberra as The Federal capital,
Aided by his non-conventional style, he continued to be characterised by wild proposals, strong reformist policies and fervent business know-how. A foreigner who was fanatically Australian, a socialist with capitalists’ personal values, He outlived his political colleagues, enemies, and press critics to become Australia’s most colourful politician.