23. Louis Edward Shapcott (1877-1950), Public Servant
Louis Shapcott was born in Victoria. As a youth he worked on pastoral station properties and as a show troupe boxer. He came to Western Australia in 1897.
Shapcott joined the Department of Mines and commenced his night school education in diverse areas such as French, elocution, chemistry, shorthand and typing. All of these skills stood him in great stead during his meteoric rise in the State Public Service.
From 1914 until his retirement in 1941, Louis Shapcott served as Secretary to the Premier, making himself indispensable to Premiers Scaddan, Wilson, Willcock, Colebatch, Collier, Lefroy and Mitchell. It was said that “seven premiers served under Shapcott”.
He regarded the State Gardens Board as his “personal empire”. From 1920 onwards, his influence ensured that the Perth foreshore, part of Kings Park, Yanchep Park and large areas of national parks throughout the State were placed under the control of the Board. In addition to his work, Shapcott also administered the Perth Zoo from 1932.
He was an ambitious and strong-willed man. Driving his car to work, he would not give way and policemen learned to hold up other traffic. Some admired Shapcott, while others feared or disliked him. However, none questioned his impartial devotion to duty.