Herbert Collett

Herbert Brayley Collett CMG, DSO, VD (12 November 1877 – 15 August 1947) was an Australian politician, librarian and soldier.

Herbert Collett

Senator for Western Australia
In office
6 April 1933  30 June 1947
Preceded byHal Colebatch
Personal details
Born(1877-11-12)12 November 1877
St. Peter Port, Guernsey
Died15 August 1947(1947-08-15) (aged 69)
Mount Lawley, Western Australia
Resting placeKarrakatta Cemetery, Perth
NationalityEnglish Australian
Political partyUAP (1931–44)
Liberal (1944–47)
Military service
Branch/serviceCitizens Military Force
Australian Imperial Force
Years of service1894–1927
Commands13th Brigade (1921–27)
22nd Brigade (1920–21)
No. 2 Command Depot (1918–19)
4th Training Brigade (1916–17)
28th Battalion (1915–16, 1917–18)
11th Australian Infantry Regiment (1908–15)
Battles/warsFirst World War
AwardsCompanion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
Mentioned in Despatches
Volunteer Officers' Decoration

Collett was born in St. Peter Port, Guernsey and arrived with his family in Western Australia in October 1884. He was educated at Perth Grammar School and became a librarian at the Victoria Public Library in 1891. He married Anne Whitfield in April 1904.[1]

Collett joined the Metropolitan Rifle Volunteers at the age of 16 and rose to command the 11th Australian Infantry Regiment as a lieutenant colonel in 1908. With the outbreak of the First World War he commanded the 28th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force from 23 April 1915 and he served at Gallipoli, in Egypt and Sinai and in France. On 29 July 1916, he was wounded at the Battle of Pozières. He returned to action on 12 October 1917 at the First Battle of Passchendaele. He was promoted to colonel in June 1918 and discharged in September 1919. He was mentioned in despatches and was made a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order in 1917, a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1919 and was promoted brevet colonel.[1]

Collett was assistant general secretary of Perth's amalgamated library, museum and art gallery from 1915 to 1933 and president of the Western Australia branch of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers' Imperial League from 1925 to 1933.[1]

Political career

In April 1933, Collett was appointed to fill a casual vacancy in the Australian Senate, representing the United Australia Party.[2] In parliament he was particularly concerned with military matters and benefits for ex-servicemen and was Minister in charge of War Service Homes from April 1939 to June 1941, when he became Minister for Repatriation until the fall of the Fadden government in October 1941. He was also Vice-President of the Executive Council and Minister in charge of Scientific and Industrial Research from August to October 1940. He was defeated at the 1946 election, completing his Senate term in July 1947. Shortly after he died of heart disease, survived by his wife and two sons.[1]


  1. Black, David (1981). "Collett, Herbert Brayley (1877–1947)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 13 January 2008.
  2. "Members of the Senate since 1901". Parliamentary Handbook. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 6 September 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2008.
Political offices
New title Minister without portfolio administering
War Service Homes
Minister in charge of War Service Homes

Title abolished
Preceded by
Henry Gullett
Vice-President of the Executive Council
Succeeded by
George McLeay
Minister in charge of Scientific
and Industrial Research

Succeeded by
Harold Holt
Preceded by
George McLeay
Minister for Repatriation
Succeeded by
Charles Frost
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