Bernie Kilgariff

Bernie Kilgariff bigraphy, stories - Australian politician

Bernie Kilgariff : biography

30 September 1923 – 13 April 2010

Bernard Francis "Bernie" Kilgariff AM (30 September 1923 – 13 April 2010) was an Australian politician. He was one of the founders of the Country Liberal Party and served as a member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly which included a stint as Deputy Majority Leader before being elected to the Australian Senate.

Early life

Kilgariff was born in Adelaide, South Australia, and in 1929 arrived in Alice Springs (then called Stuart) with his family on one of the first Ghan trains from Adelaide. Kilgariff’s father and uncles built and ran the Barrow Creek and Tennant Creek Hotels in the early 1930s.

He attended the Hartley Steet School, and in 1938, the local Catholic school. His first job was building runways for the fledgling Connellan Airways. On 17 June 1943, Kilgariff enlisted in the Australian Army and served overseas. At the time of his discharge on 11 September 1946, he was a Sergeant in the 2/5th Australian Infantry Battalion., WW2 Nominal Roll, Department of Veterans Affairs.

Political career

After the Second World War, Kilgariff became involved in community service, and was a member of the Northern Territory Housing Commission for thirteen years. In 1960, he was approached by the Administrator of the Northern Territory with regard to joining the Northern Territory Legislative Council. Kilgariff agreed and was elected, beginning a long political career.

Kilgariff was one of the founders of the Country Liberal Party, an independent political party consisting of Country Party and Liberal Party members, to field candidates at the 1974 Legislative Council elections.

In 1974, the Legislative Council became the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, and Kilgariff was appointed the first Speaker of the Assembly, however he resigned on 16 July 1975 to become Deputy Majority Leader and then in December 1975 resigned as Deputy Majority Leader and from the Assembly in order to run for one of two newly-created seats in the Australian Senate for the Northern Territory in the 1975 federal election. Kilgariff, along with Ted Robertson (ALP) were elected as the Northern Territory’s first Senators.

Personal life and family

His daughter Fran is a former mayor of Alice Springs, who also ran as a Labor Party candidate in the 2005 Northern Territory general election. Bernie Kilgariff died on 13 April 2010, after suffering an ongoing illness. He was given a state funeral on 22 April.Kissel, Anthea: , ABC Local Radio, 22 April 2010.


Kilgariff was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the 1989 Queen’s Birthday Honours for continued service to the Northern Territory through the Northern Territory Landcare Council, the Anti-Rabbit Research Foundation, the Cattleman’s Association, the Australia Day Council and St John Ambulance., It’s an Honour, 1989.

In the 1996 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM)., It’s an Honour, 1996.

In 2001, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society through parliament., It’s an Honour, 2001.