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Prime Ministers

The Commonwealth of Australia has had 28 Prime Ministers since the Federation in 1901 of six British Colonies. Federal Parliament met in Melbourne until 1927 when it was moved to Canberra. Parliament House was officially opened in 1988, prior to this, Federal Parliament was housed in Old Parliament House for 61 years. The official residence of the Prime Minister in Canberra is The Lodge and in Sydney is Kirribilli House.

1st : Edmund Barton (1901-1903) - Protectionist Party
Born in 1849 in Glebe (NSW) and a barrister, he was one of the architects of Australia's Constitution and the first Prime Minister, he was admired for his intellect and calm temper. He resigned in 1903 to take an appointment to Australia's new High Court. He died in 1920 and is buried at Sydney South Head.

2nd : Alfred Deakin (1903-1904 & 1905-1908 & 1909-1901) - Protectionist Party
Born in 1856 in Collingwood (Vic) and a barrister, he had a reputation of being a fine speaker and his courteous manner earned him the nickname ‘Affable Alfred’. He suffered ill-health and resigned from politics in 1913. He died in 1919 and is buried in St Kilda.

3rd : Chris Watson (1904) - Australian Labor Party
Probably born in Chile in 1867 and a typographer, he formed the first Labor government in April 1904 but unable to command a majority he resigned in August 1904. He continued to involve himself in unionism and advocated rural land allotments for returned soldiers. He died in 1941 in Sydney.

4th : George Reid (1904-1905) - Free Trade
Born in 1845 in Scotland and a barrister, he lost the office of PM in July 1905, and became Australia’s first High Commissioner to London in 1910 and in 1916 he took a seat in the British House of Commons. He died in London in 1918 and is buried at Putney Vale Cemetery.

5th : Andrew Fisher (1908-1909 & 1910-1913 & 1914-1915) - Australian Labor Party
Born in 1862 in Scotland and a coalminer, significant projects during his terms include the Commonwealth Bank, the Royal Australian Navy, the trans-Australian railway link, maternity allowances and the wattle was named as the national flower. He died in London in 1928 and is buried at Hampstead Cemetery.

6th : Joseph Cook (1913-1914) - The Liberal Party
Born in 1860 in England and a coalminer, he did not enjoy a workable majority and a double dissolution ended his term in June 1914. He continued as opposition leader until 1917. Along with Hughes, he represented Australia at the Peace Conference in Versailles in 1919. He died in 1947 in Sydney.

7th : William Hughes (1915-1923) - Australian Labor Party & Nationalist
Born in 1862 in England and a teacher & barrister, he was known as "the little Digger" for his leadership during WW1. He founded Advisory Council for Science and Industry (later CSIRO) and was the longest serving Australian parliamentarian. He died in 1952 in Sydney and is buried at Northern Suburbs Cemetery.

8th : Stanley Bruce (1923-1929) - Nationalist
Born in 1883 in Toorak (Vic) and a barrister, soldier and public servant. He was the first Chancellor of the Australian National University and in 1936 was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He died in 1967 and his ashes were scattered over Lake Burley Griffith in Canberra.

9th : James Scullin (1929-1932) - Australian Labor Party
Born in 1876 in Trawalla (Vic) and a grocer, unionist and journalist. The ‘Wall Street crash’ occurred in the first week of his government. The first Australian-born Governor-General was proposed & appointed. He died in Melbourne in 1953 and is buried at Melbourne General Cemetery.

10th : Joseph Lyons (1932-1939) - United Australia Party
Born in 1879 in Stanley (Tas) and a teacher. He was widely popular with a reputation as a cautious financial manager and was the first Prime Minister to make use of air travel to meet people across the country. He died "in office" in 1939 in Sydney and is buried in Devonport, Tasmania.

11th : Earle Page (1939) - Country Party
Born in 1880 in Grafton (NSW) and a surgeon, was Prime Minister for only 20 days but also served for six years as Deputy. He represented the same federal seat for 42 years, and became the Minister for Health in 1949. He died in Sydney in 1961.

12th : Robert Menzies (1939-1941 & 1949-1966) - United Australia Party & Liberal Party of Australia
Born in 1894 in Jeparit (Vic) and a barrister, he was the longest serving Prime Minister (in excess of 18 years) and a staunch monarchist. WW2 & the Korean War were active during both his terms. He died in 1978 in Melbourne and his ashes are buried in Melbourne General Cemetery.

13th : Arthur Fadden (1941) - Country Party
Born in 1894 in Ingham (Qld) and an accountant. He held the office for only six weeks, as Treasurer he established the Reserve Bank. He died in Toowong in 1973.

14th : John Curtin (1941-1945) - Australian Labor Party
Born in 1885 in Creswick (Vic) and a journalist and union organiser, he is regarded as the greatest. He is remembered for leading the country during the difficult war years. He was patient & an advocate for the rights of women & children. He died "in office" in Canberra in 1945 and is buried at Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth.

15th : Francis Forde (1945) - Australian Labor Party
Born in 1890 in Mitchell (Qld) and a teacher and electrical engineer. his prime ministerial term of eight days is the shortest in Australian history. He died in 1983 in Brisbane and is buried at Toowong Cemetery.

16th : Ben Chifley (1945-1949) - Australian Labor Party
Born in 1885 in Bathurst (NSW) and an engine-driver, was one of the most highly regarded PMs. He is remembered for many national building projects such as the post-war immigration scheme, the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the PBS, CSIRO & the ANU. He died in 1951 in Canberra and is buried at Bathurst Cemetery.

17th : Harold Holt (1966-1967) - Liberal Party of Australia
Born in 1908 in Stanmore (NSW) and a solicitor. He dismantled the 'white Australia policy' and removed racial discrimination in the Constitution. A fan of the USA, he trebled the commitment in the Vietnam War. He died in 1967 "in office", whilst swimming at Cheviot Beac (Vic), his body was never recovered.

18th : John McEwen (1967-1968) - Country Party
Born in 1900 in Chiltern (Vic) and a farmer. When Holt was officially presume dead, he was sworn in by the Governor-General as PM. When he retired in 1971, he had served 36 years in parliament. He died at Toorak in 1980

19th : John Gorton (1968-1971) - Liberal Party of Australia
Born in 1911 in New Zealand and an orchardist. As a pilot during WW2, he suffered facial disfigurement. He was not a natural public speaker and unlucky to come up against the powerful orator Whitlam. He increased funding for the arts and fostered an independent Australian film industry. He died in 2002 in Sydney.

20th : William McMahon (1971-1972) - Liberal Party of Australia
Born in 1908 in Sydney (NSW) and a solicitor. He was unpopular & untrusted by his colleagues. There were frequent rumours about breaches of Cabinet confidentiality by leaking information to lobbyists & journalists as well as his personal life as he was unmarried until the age of 57. He died in 1988 in Sydney.

21st : Gough Whitlam (1972-1975) - Australian Labor Party
Born in 1916 in Kew (Vic) and a barrister. He is the only Prime Minister dismissed from office by the the British Queen's representative. He is remembered for elimination of military conscription and criminal execution, and the implementation of fee free tertiary schooling, legal aid and universal health care.

22nd : Malcolm Fraser (1975-1983) - Liberal Party of Australia
Born in 1930 in Toorak (Vic) and a primary producer. He came to power after the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government. His administration was remembered for record levels of unemployment. He supported the campaign to abolish apartheid in South Africa and opposed white minority rule in Rhodesia.

23rd : Robert Hawke (1983-1991) - Australian Labor Party
Born in 1929 in Bordertown (SA) and a unionist. A Rhodes Scholar, he has an entry in the Guinness Book of Record for beer drinking, whilst a student, he later overcame an alcohol addiction and remained teetotal while in office. Medicare was introduced and construction of the Franklin Dam was stopped during his time.

24th : Paul Keating (1991-1996) - Australian Labor Party
Born in 1944 in Paddington (NSW) and a union advocate. He is remembered for transforming Australia’s financial system and economy when the government floated the Australian dollar and allowed foreign banks to operate. He is the only Prime Minister to have had a popular stage show written about his career.

25th : John Howard (1996-2007) - Liberal Party of Australia
Born in 1939 in Dulwich Hill (NSW) and a solicitor, was the 2nd longest serving Prime Minister and also the 2nd Prime Minister to lose his seat. He has been active in politics since the age of 18 and is the only Liberal Party Prime Minister to have been educated in government schools.

26th : Kevin Rudd (2007-2010 & 2013) - Australian Labor Party
Born in 1957 in Nambour (Qld) and a public servant and diplomat, enjoyed high public approval ratings, however lost the support of members of the Labor party and his leadership was challenged by Julia Gillard. He is fluent in Mandarin and is descended from the convict Mary Wade who was transported in 1789.

27th : Julia Gillard (2010-2013) - Australian Labor Party
Born in 1961 in Wales and a solicitor, is Australia's first female Prime Minister and in the 2010 federal election suffered the first hung parliament since 1940 although was able to form a minority government with the support of three independent and one minority party MPs. Her leadership of the Labor party was challenged by Kevin Rudd in June 2013 and 3 months from election day, she lost leadership.

28th : Tony Abbott (2013-2015) - Liberal Party of Australia
Born in 1957 in England with a background in economists and law. A Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, he attained a Master of Art in Politics and Philosophy, and upon his return home, announced that he would join the preisthood. He led the Liberal/National Coalition to victory in the September 2013 federal election. He lost the leadershp of the party & thus the Prime Minister position to Malcolm Turnbull in a party ballot in 2015.

29th : Malcolm Turnbull (2015- ) - Liberal Party of Australia
Born in 1954 with a background in Arts & Law, he attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and has worked as a journalist, lawyer and banker. In September 2015 he challenged Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal Party and won, subsequently becoming the 29th Prime Minister.