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Lyell Alexander McEwin (1897–1988) received a frugal Mid North upbringing which taught him the motto, ‘waste not, want not’, that characterised his 40 years in the Legislative Council, 1934–75. 

With 26 continuous years in Premier Tom Playford’s government, McEwin presided over the Council from 1967–75, having been knighted in 1954. His ministries developed uranium resources at Mount Painter and Radium Hill, built the Queen Elizabeth and Lyell McEwin hospitals, and extended the police force and prison farm system. A prominent Freemason and devout Congregationalist, McEwin personally rejected his church’s amalgamation with the Uniting Church, and sparked controversy when he used his deliberative vote to defeat the 1973 bill which sought to legalise homosexual acts between consenting adult males.

By Carol Fort

This entry was first published in The Wakefield companion to South Australian history edited by Wilfrid Prest, Kerrie Round and Carol Fort (Adelaide: Wakefield Press, 2001). Edited lightly. Uploaded 4 September 2015.

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