Gordon Sinclair WHITE



Father, son in chairman's role.

Councillor Gordon White gained a rare honour for his family when he became the final Pioneer Shire chairman after the retirement of John Young in 1982.

Though there have been several instances of fathers and sons serving as councillors during the shire's life of 114 years, Ken White from 1957 to 1964 and his son Gordon from 1982 until 1994, are the only father and son to have served as chairman.

Cr. White can fairly claim to have led the council through an era of notable progress and development.

Two experienced shire councillors, Henry Maplethorpe and Jim Hicks, were the men who persuaded a young Gordon White to enter public life, pinning their faith on the philosophy of "like father, like son."

Henry Maplethorpe, a councillor from 1943 to 1949 and from 1966 to 1979, and Jim Hicks from 1957 to 1967, had lengthy associations with Ken White, both personally and in public affairs, particularly on the council and in the sugar industry.

Henry Maplethorpe had also spent many years on rugby league fields with Ken White.

At the time of his unexpected death in December 1964, aged 60, Ken White, in addition to being the Pioneer Shire chairman was chairman of directors of Farleigh Mill, a member of the Mackay Regional Electricity Board, the Mackay Harbour Board and the Pioneer River Improvement Trust.

When in 1966 a vacancy occurred on council as a result of the death of Cr. Bill Graves, Crs. Maplethorpe and Hicks sensed that the time had come for another White to join the council.

Gordon White, who was then running the family farm, had no practical experience in public life prior to accepting the nomination but he had gained a good insight into the demands made on those who did take part in public affairs through observing the career of his father.

Twenty-eight years later, although a family man at heart, he has gained wide experience in public life.  He became chairman in 1982 following the retirement of John Young (being opposed only once at an election since then) and has also held several other important positions.

He has been chairman of the Mackay Electricity Board since 1982.  Progress made by the MEB under his leadership would have been especially gratifying to him as his father was a foundation member of the Mackay Regional Electricity Board.

In local government Cr. White is a member of the Local Government Grants Commission and the Local Government Association executive and serves on several of its committees.

----Terry Hayes

Information Source:

The Daily Mercury, Thursday, March 3, 1994; Supplement "Pioneer Shire 1880-1994, We Salute You", page 11.


Kerr, John. (1980).  Pioneer Pageant. Mackay, QLD: Pioneer Shire Council.

Gordon White had the unique distinction of leading the Mackay City Council after the amalgamation with the Pioneer Shire Council and served as Mayor from 1994 to 1997.

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