Sir Gilbert L. Chandler KBE, CMG, MLC

Life Membership Awarded - 1940/1941

Sir Gilbert Lawrence Chandler ('Gib') was born in 1903 in North Melbourne and was the eldest of 5 children of Alfred Elliott Chandler MLC who had played an important role in the establishment of the RDCA. He was educated at Scotch College after which he joined the family nursery business at The Basin.

His career followed that of his father. In 1935-55 he served on the Ferntree Gully Shire Council where he was President in 1938/39 and in March 1935 he succeeded his late father as a representative in the Victorian Legislative Council.

Sir Gilbert was to spend 38 years in Parliament were he also represented Southern Province (1937/67) and Boronia Province (1967/73) after electoral distributions. In 1955 he became Minister for Agriculture and continued in that role until his retirement in 1973. The Gilbert Chandler Institute of Dairy Technology at Werribee was named in his honour. He was known for undertaking community service well beyond his parliamentary and ministerial duties. Among many activities was an interest in conservation and in preserving the beauty of the Dandenong Ranges through being Chairman of the Churchill National Park's Committee of Management. He also chaired (1944/46) the government's Bush Fires Relief Committee and served as President of the Boronia Basin division of the St. John's Ambulance Brigade. He was appointed a C.M.G. (Companion in the Order of St. Michael and St. George) in 1958 and was Knighted in 1972.

Sir Gilbert was a keen sportsman in his early years playing for both Bayswater and Boronia football clubs. He played one game of Australian Rules Football for Hawthorn (1928/29) and District Cricket (1927/33) for Richmond where he was an opening bowler in the senior team. He was a member of the organising committee for the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956 and was a trustee of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (Chairman 1973/74). Local sport played an important part of his life and Sir Gilbert is a Life Member of the (now) Eastern Football League and the Sir Gilbert Chandler Medal is awarded to the Best and Fairest Medal winner in Division One. He was also President of the Croydon – Ferntree Gully Football League before it became the (then) Eastern Districts Football League (now Eastern Football League).

Sir Gilbert was originally a star fast bowler for Bayswater Cricket Club in the early 1920's and he won an RDCA bowling average in 1922/23 when he took 50 wickets at an average of 6.96. He played in Bayswater's first premiership in 1923/24 before moving to play for Boronia Cricket Club.

He was a Vice President of the Ringwood and District Cricket Association and also served as a Patron of the Association for some years. He was President of Boronia Cricket Club in 1940/41 and appears on the Boronia Team Lists in RDCA records in 1927/28 and subsequent years. Sir Gilbert played in representative games for the RDCA in the 1920's/30's and was involved in the Association for many years. He was awarded Life Membership in 1940/41 in recognition of his fine service.

Sir Gilbert died in 1974 in the William Angliss Hospital at Ferntree Gully. He had served the Hospital as Foundation President for 35years until his death and he was survived by his wife and two sons.

Acknowledgements – Australian Dictionary of Biography – Online Edition (Biographical Entry). - History of the Bayswater Cricket Club – 1894-2003 – 110 Not Out (G. Hancock and B. Dunstan) for the above photograph and some information.

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