Cover image for Roy Frederick and Mavis Isabel Fagan and Family
Roy Frederick and Mavis Isabel Fagan and Family
Agency Number:
Start Date:
28 Dec 1905
End Date:
18 Jun 2010
FAGAN, ROY FREDERICK (1905-1990), politician, was born on 28 December 1905 at Waratah, Tasmania, eldest child of James Fagan, a Victorian-born hotelkeeper, and his Tasmanian wife Annie Theresa, nee Breheney.
The premier (Sir) Robert Cosgrove asked him to stand in the November 1946 election for the ALP in the seat of Wilmot. Immediately appointed attorney-general, he sold his law practice as the premier expected him to be a full-time politician.
On 23 January 1947 at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Bellerive, Roy, now widowed, and Mavis Isabel (nee Smith), a schoolteacher, were married. 
Mavis' interests included involvement with Adult Education where she served on the Adult Education Board as well as Schools Broadcasts on the radio. She was also a member of the Arts Council.
As attorney-general, Fagan was involved in several political crises. In December 1947 he indicted Cosgrove on a conspiracy charge; Cosgrove, who stood down as premier, was acquitted by the Supreme Court of Tasmania in February next year and reinstated.
In September 1956 when the minister for housing C. A. Bramich defected to the Liberals, Fagan was credited with saving Labor, by moving and gaining an adjournment of the House.
In 1958 allegations of bribery and corruption were made against Cosgrove and his treasurer R. J. D. Turnbull over the granting of a lottery licence. As attorney-general, Fagan laid charges against both to enable a court determination. Turnbull's animus made it impossible for Fagan to remain in cabinet and he resigned his portfolio in July. He sat on the back-bench until May next year, when he again became attorney-general, in the Reece ministry.
Fagan regarded his greatest achievement in politics as the abolition of capital punishment. Owing to the conservatism of the Legislative Council, the reform was rejected in the Upper House twelve times before Fagan succeeded on the thirteenth, in 1968. The legislation was enacted in December of that year.
He was deputy-leader of the Labor Party (1948-58), deputy-premier (1959-69), minister administering the Industrial Development Act 1954 (1959-69), deputy-leader of the Opposition (1969-72) and, when Labor returned to power, minister for industrial development and forests (1972-74).
Fagan retired from parliament at the 1974 election. His old age was marred by the development of Alzheimer's disease. He died on 18 July 1990 in Hobart. His wife Mavis died on 18 June 2010 in her 100th year.
Information Sources:
Australian Dictionary of Biography, Roy Frederick Fagan
Series Created By Agency:
NS3326 Personal Papers of Roy and Mavis Fagan23 Jun 193931 Dec 1989

NS1157 Correspondence about the 1946 Election Campaign01 Aug 194630 Nov 1946

NS3325 Films09 May 195008 Jul 1983