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Viscount of Melbourne, Stanley Bruce the 8th Prime Minister of Australia fought at both Gallipoli and the Western Front. Bruce was the first PM to govern from the newly built Canberra. Bruce died in London and was cremated and his ashes were spread around Canberra. Bruce is the only PM whose remains are in the nation’s capital.

How well do you really know our Prime Ministers…….. At Twisted History we thought we would share the strange, weird and bizarre facts on our 29 PM’s!

1) Sir Edmond Barton was a cricket umpire when the first ever international cricket riot happened in 1878, against Australia and England at the SCG.

2) Alfred Deakin was almost killed in lift accident in 1887. Melbourne became the fourth city in the world to build power hydraulic lifts. When directors of the Australian Provincial Assurance Association (including future Australian Prime Minister Alfred Deakin), inspected the hydraulic lift in the new APA building on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Flinders Lane, Melbourne, for the first time. The mechanism failed and the lift shot upwards 12 floors, stopped only by some stout springs at the top. Deakin exited the building by the stairs.

3) Chris Watson was born in Chile and never became a British subject, so he was technically not eligible to sit in the Australian parliament let alone become Prime Minister.

4) Sir George Reid was the first PM to be involved in a car accident, breaking his arm and bruising his pride.

5) Andrew Fisher, left school at the age of 10, to work in the coal mines, before immigrating to Australia at the age of 13.

6) Joseph Cook was largely a self-educated man after leaving school at the age of 9 as a miner. Australian artist Tom Roberts, who recorded Cook on canvas many times, noted that Cook was 5 ft 9 ins (175 cm) in height, weighed 12 stone (76 kg) and his hat size was 7.

7) Billy Hughes established the Commonwealth Police Force, after being struck by an egg in the head at a protest. Hughes also holds two distinguished records – As Prime Minister, he had the most secretaries of all PM numbering over 100. Hughes also holds the record as longest serving parliamentarian lasting 58 years, when he died at age 90, while still serving in Parliament.

8) Viscount of Melbourne, Stanley Bruce fought at both Gallipoli and the Western Front. Bruce was the first PM to govern from the newly built Canberra. Bruce died in London and was cremated and his ashes were spread around Canberra. Bruce is the only PM whose remains are in the nation’s capital.

9) James Scullin was the first Prime Minister to choose the Governor-General, not the royal family. Scullin choose Sir Isaac Isaacs, the first born Australian to hold the post.

10) Joseph Lyon’s father lost the family savings at the 1887 Melbourne Cup. Lyon at the age of 9 was forced to leave school and find work.

11) Earle Christmas Page was one of the first Australians to own a car. Serving as Prime minister for only 20 days, he refused to retire at 81, and dying from lung cancer, still contested the 1961 election.

12) Sir Robert Menzies is the longest serving Prime Minister (18 years). Menzies retired on Australia Day in 1966. Menzies was a lifelong supporter of Carlton VFL Football Club. In the 1970s, following a stroke the Carlton Football club made a ramp up onto the committee box at Princes Park Oval so that Menzies’s chauffeur, Peter Pearson could drive his Bentley into the stand to watch games.

13) Arthur Fadden liked socialising, sport, and theatre. He was once a member of an acting group in Mackay called the Nigger Minstrel Troupe. Yes that’s right …..It’s pretty much white people painting on a black face and doing that racist thing.

14) John Curtin’s first job at the age of 14, was as a messenger boy for a magazine edited by artist Norman Lindsay. Curtin was also gaoled for three days in Pentridge Prison Melbourne in 1916 for defying government’s call-up order for military. Although holding such strong beliefs Curtin passed conscription for WWII.

15) Francis Forde holds the records for the shortest term as Prime Minister for a mere 8 days.

16) Ben Chifley graduated as one of the youngest first-class locomotive engine driver at 28. Chifley died of a massive heart attack on the 13th of June 1951 in Canberra, whilst parliamentarians attended State Ball at Parliament House. Once hearing the news Prime Minister Menzies told everyone to go home. Ben Chifley ghost is said to haunt Canberra.

17) Harold Holt’s father married one of his former girlfriends…… So she became his step mother. After going missing while swimming and his body never found, in good Australian humour a local Melbourne swimming pool was named in his honour.

18) Sir John McEwen at the age of 16, worked at a Crown Solicitor’s office under Frederick Whitlam, father of future PM Gough Whitlam. At the age of 67 years McEwen was the oldest ever incoming Prime Minister. Due to only being Prime Minister for two months McEwen, after his death did not want a fancy PM headstone.

19) Sir William McMahon employed young sailors in tight-fitting bell-bottom trousers to caddy for him at golf.

20) Sir John Gorton survived three flying accidents and ship being torpedoed during the Second World War. Gorton was also the only PM to voted himself out of office.

21) Gough Whitlam is only one of two Prime Ministers whose lifetime spanned the lives of all 25 Prime Ministers in Australia’s first century (John Gorton was the other) Whitlam was Australia’s longest-lived Prime Minister, dying at the age of 98 years, sadly 2 years short of receiving a 100th birthday card from Queen Elizabeth II, the woman who sacked him and his government in 1975.

22) Malcolm Fraser’s notorious incident in Memphis, Tennessee, in October 1986 is a night that would never be forgotten. After give a speech to the Memphis Economic Club Fraser decided to go for a drink at the Peabody Hotel. But for Fraser this was only the beginning of the night. He wandered into the foyer of a Memphis hotel frequented by prostitutes and drug dealers at 7am wearing nothing but a towel. He claimed to have no memory of the nights activities or were his pants where.

23) Bob Hawke was immortalised by the Guinness Book of Records in 1954 for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. This record was at the same English Hotel where President Bill Clinton smoked a joint.

24) Paul Keating left school at the age of 14, and managed a rock band called The Ramrods. Keating is the only Australian PM to be on the cover of the Rolling Stones Magazine. As Prime Minister Keating asked journalists to stop photographing his bald patch.

25) John Howard is the only Liberal Party Prime Minister to have been educated in a state school. Howard also lived at his parents’ home until he was 32 years old.

26) Kevin Rudd is a descendent of transported convict Mary Wade, who had over three hundred relatives when she died and is considered as one of Australia’s ‘matriarchs’. At the age of 15, Rudd wrote to Prime Minister Gough Whitlam asking for advice on how to become involved in a diplomatic career. Whitlam suggested Rudd learn a foreign language, which he did Chinese (Mandarin).

27) Julia Gillard immigrated with her family to Adelaide in 1966 as ’£10 poms’. Gillard is the first female Prime Minister to be sworn in by the first female Governor-General Quentin Bryce. Gillard was also the first unmarried Prime Minister.

28) Tony Abbott during his student days, once saved a child who was swept out to sea. Another time, he helped save children from a burning house next to a pub where he was drinking. At the aged 26, he studied to become a Catholic priest.

29) Malcolm Turnbull is 2nd cousin of British actress Angela Lansbury, from Murder She Wrote.

 

On this day …….. 8th of August 1926

Qantas is Australia’s national airline service and the name was formerly an acronym for “Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services”. Qantas was born out of a need to bring regular passenger services to remote communities. W Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness, former Australian Flying Corps officers who had served at Gallipoli, had the inspiration after their plans to enter a major air race fell through. In March 1919, the Australian Federal Government offered a £10,000 prize for the first Australians to fly from England to Australia within 30 days. Necessary funding for the two war veterans was cancelled when wealthy grazier and sponsor, Sir Samuel McCaughey, died before the money could be delivered, and his estate refused to release the promised funds. Undaunted, Fysh and McGinness undertook an assignment from the Defence Department to survey part of the route of the race, travelling almost 2200km from Longreach in northwestern Queensland to Katherine in the Northern Territory in a Model T Ford. The journey took 51 days and covered territory which no motor vehicle had negotiated before, and the difficulties highlighted the need for a regular aerial service to link remote settlements in the Australian outback. Fysh and McGinness gained sponsorship for a regular air service from wealthy grazier Fergus McMaster, whom McGinness had once assisted in the remote outback when his car broke an axle. As a regular traveller through difficult terrain, McMaster needed no convincing, and even secured further investment from his own business acquaintances. Originally purchased under the name of The Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services, or Qantas, was launched in November 1920, with McMaster as Chairman. Based in Winton, western Queensland, the original Qantas fleet was made up of just two biplanes: an Avro 504K with a 100 horsepower water-cooled Sunbeam Dyak engine and a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2E with a 90 horsepower air-cooled engine. The men’s former flight sergeant Arthur Baird was signed on as aircraft mechanic. Initially, the service operated just for joyrides and demonstrations. Qantas commenced its first regular airmail and passenger service, between Cloncurry and Charleville in November 1922, and in 1925 extended the service another 400km west to Camooweal. Mechanic Arthur Baird was placed in charge of a building programme in 1926. The first aircraft, a DH50A, was turned out under the Qantas banner on 8 August 1926. This was the first time an aircraft had been built in Australia under licence from overseas manufacturers.

 

Viscount of Melbourne, Stanley Bruce the 8th Prime Minister of Australia fought at both Gallipoli and the Western Front. Bruce was the first PM to govern from the newly built Canberra. Bruce died in London and was cremated and his ashes were spread around Canberra. Bruce is the only PM whose remains are in the nation’s capital.

How well do you really know our Prime Ministers…….. At Twisted History we thought we would share the strange, weird and bizarre facts on our 29 PM’s!

1) Sir Edmond Barton was a cricket umpire when the first ever international cricket riot happened in 1878, against Australia and England at the SCG.

2) Alfred Deakin was almost killed in lift accident in 1887. Melbourne became the fourth city in the world to build power hydraulic lifts. When directors of the Australian Provincial Assurance Association (including future Australian Prime Minister Alfred Deakin), inspected the hydraulic lift in the new APA building on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Flinders Lane, Melbourne, for the first time. The mechanism failed and the lift shot upwards 12 floors, stopped only by some stout springs at the top. Deakin exited the building by the stairs.

3) Chris Watson was born in Chile and never became a British subject, so he was technically not eligible to sit in the Australian parliament let alone become Prime Minister.

4) Sir George Reid was the first PM to be involved in a car accident, breaking his arm and bruising his pride.

5) Andrew Fisher, left school at the age of 10, to work in the coal mines, before immigrating to Australia at the age of 13.

6) Joseph Cook was largely a self-educated man after leaving school at the age of 9 as a miner. Australian artist Tom Roberts, who recorded Cook on canvas many times, noted that Cook was 5 ft 9 ins (175 cm) in height, weighed 12 stone (76 kg) and his hat size was 7.

7) Billy Hughes established the Commonwealth Police Force, after being struck by an egg in the head at a protest. Hughes also holds two distinguished records – As Prime Minister, he had the most secretaries of all PM numbering over 100. Hughes also holds the record as longest serving parliamentarian lasting 58 years, when he died at age 90, while still serving in Parliament.

8) Viscount of Melbourne, Stanley Bruce fought at both Gallipoli and the Western Front. Bruce was the first PM to govern from the newly built Canberra. Bruce died in London and was cremated and his ashes were spread around Canberra. Bruce is the only PM whose remains are in the nation’s capital.

9) James Scullin was the first Prime Minister to choose the Governor-General, not the royal family. Scullin choose Sir Isaac Isaacs, the first born Australian to hold the post.

10) Joseph Lyon’s father lost the family savings at the 1887 Melbourne Cup. Lyon at the age of 9 was forced to leave school and find work.

11) Earle Christmas Page was one of the first Australians to own a car. Serving as Prime minister for only 20 days, he refused to retire at 81, and dying from lung cancer, still contested the 1961 election.

12) Sir Robert Menzies is the longest serving Prime Minister (18 years). Menzies retired on Australia Day in 1966. Menzies was a lifelong supporter of Carlton VFL Football Club. In the 1970s, following a stroke the Carlton Football club made a ramp up onto the committee box at Princes Park Oval so that Menzies’s chauffeur, Peter Pearson could drive his Bentley into the stand to watch games.

13) Arthur Fadden liked socialising, sport, and theatre. He was once a member of an acting group in Mackay called the Nigger Minstrel Troupe. Yes that’s right …..It’s pretty much white people painting on a black face and doing that racist thing.

14) John Curtin’s first job at the age of 14, was as a messenger boy for a magazine edited by artist Norman Lindsay. Curtin was also gaoled for three days in Pentridge Prison Melbourne in 1916 for defying government’s call-up order for military. Although holding such strong beliefs Curtin passed conscription for WWII.

15) Francis Forde holds the records for the shortest term as Prime Minister for a mere 8 days.

16) Ben Chifley graduated as one of the youngest first-class locomotive engine driver at 28. Chifley died of a massive heart attack on the 13th of June 1951 in Canberra, whilst parliamentarians attended State Ball at Parliament House. Once hearing the news Prime Minister Menzies told everyone to go home. Ben Chifley ghost is said to haunt Canberra.

17) Harold Holt’s father married one of his former girlfriends…… So she became his step mother. After going missing while swimming and his body never found, in good Australian humour a local Melbourne swimming pool was named in his honour.

18) Sir John McEwen at the age of 16, worked at a Crown Solicitor’s office under Frederick Whitlam, father of future PM Gough Whitlam. At the age of 67 years McEwen was the oldest ever incoming Prime Minister. Due to only being Prime Minister for two months McEwen, after his death did not want a fancy PM headstone.

19) Sir William McMahon employed young sailors in tight-fitting bell-bottom trousers to caddy for him at golf.

20) Sir John Gorton survived three flying accidents and ship being torpedoed during the Second World War. Gorton was also the only PM to voted himself out of office.

21) Gough Whitlam is only one of two Prime Ministers whose lifetime spanned the lives of all 25 Prime Ministers in Australia’s first century (John Gorton was the other) Whitlam was Australia’s longest-lived Prime Minister, dying at the age of 98 years, sadly 2 years short of receiving a 100th birthday card from Queen Elizabeth II, the woman who sacked him and his government in 1975.

22) Malcolm Fraser’s notorious incident in Memphis, Tennessee, in October 1986 is a night that would never be forgotten. After give a speech to the Memphis Economic Club Fraser decided to go for a drink at the Peabody Hotel. But for Fraser this was only the beginning of the night. He wandered into the foyer of a Memphis hotel frequented by prostitutes and drug dealers at 7am wearing nothing but a towel. He claimed to have no memory of the nights activities or were his pants where.

23) Bob Hawke was immortalised by the Guinness Book of Records in 1954 for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. This record was at the same English Hotel where President Bill Clinton smoked a joint.

24) Paul Keating left school at the age of 14, and managed a rock band called The Ramrods. Keating is the only Australian PM to be on the cover of the Rolling Stones Magazine. As Prime Minister Keating asked journalists to stop photographing his bald patch.

25) John Howard is the only Liberal Party Prime Minister to have been educated in a state school. Howard also lived at his parents’ home until he was 32 years old.

26) Kevin Rudd is a descendent of transported convict Mary Wade, who had over three hundred relatives when she died and is considered as one of Australia’s ‘matriarchs’. At the age of 15, Rudd wrote to Prime Minister Gough Whitlam asking for advice on how to become involved in a diplomatic career. Whitlam suggested Rudd learn a foreign language, which he did Chinese (Mandarin).

27) Julia Gillard immigrated with her family to Adelaide in 1966 as ’£10 poms’. Gillard is the first female Prime Minister to be sworn in by the first female Governor-General Quentin Bryce. Gillard was also the first unmarried Prime Minister.

28) Tony Abbott during his student days, once saved a child who was swept out to sea. Another time, he helped save children from a burning house next to a pub where he was drinking. At the aged 26, he studied to become a Catholic priest.

29) Malcolm Turnbull is 2nd cousin of British actress Angela Lansbury, from Murder She Wrote.

 

On this day …….. 19th May 1915

John Simpson Kirkpatrick, born on the 6th of July 1892 in South Shields, County Durham, England, was a stretcher bearer with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs) at Gallipoli during World War I. Originally finding employment stevedoring and stoking on merchant ships, at the outbreak of World War I he immediately joined the Australian Army Medical Corps as a stretcher bearer under the name of “Jack Simpson”. Simpson landed at Anzac Cove on the 25th of April 1915 and, on the second day, took a donkey that had been landed as a water-carrier for one of the field artillery units. Several dozen donkeys had been bought at a Greek island on the way to Gallipoli but, with no way to land them, had been pushed overboard to swim to shore. Only four donkeys did not drown. Simpson’s gentle touch convinced the terrified donkey to walk through the artillery noise and chaos, and the two of them began carrying wounded soldiers from the battle line to the beach for evacuation. Leading the donkey or donkeys, which he variously named Duffy or Murphy, Simpson began his journeys from the beach, up Shrapnel Gully and then Monash Valley. He carried water on his way up and wounded on his way back, whistling confidently the whole time. Simpson continued this for three and a half weeks, disregarding the danger until, on the morning of the 19th of May 1915, following a night of vicious fighting after the arrival of turkish reinforcements, he was killed by Turkish machine gun fire near Steele’s Post as he was returning down Monash Valley with two wounded men. One man was shot with Simpson, but the man on the donkey’s back remained. The donkey continued on the well-worn track, obediently carrying the wounded man to where he would be tended. Today, the story of Simpson and his donkey is an Anzac legend. John Simpson Kirkpatrick, heroically rescued 300 wounded soldiers with a donkey at Gallipoli was recommended twice for the Victoria Cross, and the Distinguished Conduct Medal, however he was never decorated for his actions. The donkey or donkeys were taken over by New Zealand primary school teacher Richard Henderson, who continued the work of Simpson, maintaining the legend throughout the ANZAC campaign. When the ANZACs were evacuated under cover of darkness, eight months later, the donkey was also evacuated.

On this day …….. 25th of December 1916

An aggressive tiger snake which attacked Private Frederick Thoroughgood, a soldier who had been invalided home deaf and dumb from Gallipoli, was the means of his regaining both his speech and hearing. Private Thoroughgood, who since his return has been an inmate of the Camberwell Convalescent Home, Mont Albert-road, attended a picnic at Warrandyte on Christmas day. While walking through the bush he almost trod on the snake, which immediately showed fight, and Thoroughgood, after a short encounter, despatched the reptile with a stick. The affray excited Thoroughgood somewhat, and a little later his companions were surprised to hear him commence whistling. Shortly afterwards he asked in a normal voice, “Well, what’s the next item on the programme ?” Speech and hearing came to him, simultaneously, being doubtless the best Christmas box that he could have desired.

 

On this day …….. 8th of August 1926

Qantas is Australia’s national airline service and the name was formerly an acronym for “Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services”. Qantas was born out of a need to bring regular passenger services to remote communities. W Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness, former Australian Flying Corps officers who had served at Gallipoli, had the inspiration after their plans to enter a major air race fell through. In March 1919, the Australian Federal Government offered a £10,000 prize for the first Australians to fly from England to Australia within 30 days. Necessary funding for the two war veterans was cancelled when wealthy grazier and sponsor, Sir Samuel McCaughey, died before the money could be delivered, and his estate refused to release the promised funds. Undaunted, Fysh and McGinness undertook an assignment from the Defence Department to survey part of the route of the race, travelling almost 2200km from Longreach in northwestern Queensland to Katherine in the Northern Territory in a Model T Ford. The journey took 51 days and covered territory which no motor vehicle had negotiated before, and the difficulties highlighted the need for a regular aerial service to link remote settlements in the Australian outback. Fysh and McGinness gained sponsorship for a regular air service from wealthy grazier Fergus McMaster, whom McGinness had once assisted in the remote outback when his car broke an axle. As a regular traveller through difficult terrain, McMaster needed no convincing, and even secured further investment from his own business acquaintances. Originally purchased under the name of The Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services, or Qantas, was launched in November 1920, with McMaster as Chairman. Based in Winton, western Queensland, the original Qantas fleet was made up of just two biplanes: an Avro 504K with a 100 horsepower water-cooled Sunbeam Dyak engine and a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2E with a 90 horsepower air-cooled engine. The men’s former flight sergeant Arthur Baird was signed on as aircraft mechanic. Initially, the service operated just for joyrides and demonstrations. Qantas commenced its first regular airmail and passenger service, between Cloncurry and Charleville in November 1922, and in 1925 extended the service another 400km west to Camooweal. Mechanic Arthur Baird was placed in charge of a building programme in 1926. The first aircraft, a DH50A, was turned out under the Qantas banner on 8 August 1926. This was the first time an aircraft had been built in Australia under licence from overseas manufacturers.

 

Viscount of Melbourne, Stanley Bruce the 8th Prime Minister of Australia fought at both Gallipoli and the Western Front. Bruce was the first PM to govern from the newly built Canberra. Bruce died in London and was cremated and his ashes were spread around Canberra. Bruce is the only PM whose remains are in the nation’s capital.

Well here we are on Election Day 2016, voting has open, placards are out and the aroma of sausage sizzles fill the air. Labour, Liberal, Democrats and Greens all trying hard to persuade last minute votes.

Since 2013 we have seen four Prime Minister’s in office, and well may we say, the passing of two heavyweights of Australian Politics – Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser.

But how well do you really know our Prime Ministers…….. At Twisted History we thought we would share the strange, weird and bizarre facts on our 29 PM’s!

1) Sir Edmond Barton was a cricket umpire when the first ever international cricket riot happened in 1878, against Australia and England at the SCG.

2) Alfred Deakin was almost killed in lift accident in 1887. Melbourne became the fourth city in the world to build power hydraulic lifts. When directors of the Australian Provincial Assurance Association (including future Australian Prime Minister Alfred Deakin), inspected the hydraulic lift in the new APA building on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Flinders Lane, Melbourne, for the first time. The mechanism failed and the lift shot upwards 12 floors, stopped only by some stout springs at the top. Deakin exited the building by the stairs.

3) Chris Watson was born in Chile and never became a British subject, so he was technically not eligible to sit in the Australian parliament let alone become Prime Minister.

4) Sir George Reid was the first PM to be involved in a car accident, breaking his arm and bruising his pride.

5) Andrew Fisher, left school at the age of 10, to work in the coal mines, before immigrating to Australia at the age of 13.

6) Joseph Cook was largely a self-educated man after leaving school at the age of 9 as a miner. Australian artist Tom Roberts, who recorded Cook on canvas many times, noted that Cook was 5 ft 9 ins (175 cm) in height, weighed 12 stone (76 kg) and his hat size was 7.

7) Billy Hughes established the Commonwealth Police Force, after being struck by an egg in the head at a protest. Hughes also holds two distinguished records – As Prime Minister, he had the most secretaries of all PM numbering over 100. Hughes also holds the record as longest serving parliamentarian lasting 58 years, when he died at age 90, while still serving in Parliament.

8) Viscount of Melbourne, Stanley Bruce fought at both Gallipoli and the Western Front. Bruce was the first PM to govern from the newly built Canberra. Bruce died in London and was cremated and his ashes were spread around Canberra. Bruce is the only PM whose remains are in the nation’s capital.

9) James Scullin was the first Prime Minister to choose the Governor-General, not the royal family. Scullin choose Sir Isaac Isaacs, the first born Australian to hold the post.

10) Joseph Lyon’s father lost the family savings at the 1887 Melbourne Cup. Lyon at the age of 9 was forced to leave school and find work.

11) Earle Christmas Page was one of the first Australians to own a car. Serving as Prime minister for only 20 days, he refused to retire at 81, and dying from lung cancer, still contested the 1961 election.

12) Sir Robert Menzies is the longest serving Prime Minister (18 years). Menzies retired on Australia Day in 1966. Menzies was a lifelong supporter of Carlton VFL Football Club. In the 1970s, following a stroke the Carlton Football club made a ramp up onto the committee box at Princes Park Oval so that Menzies’s chauffeur, Peter Pearson could drive his Bentley into the stand to watch games.

13) Arthur Fadden liked socialising, sport, and theatre. He was once a member of an acting group in Mackay called the Nigger Minstrel Troupe. Yes that’s right …..It’s pretty much white people painting on a black face and doing that racist thing.

14) John Curtin’s first job at the age of 14, was as a messenger boy for a magazine edited by artist Norman Lindsay. Curtin was also gaoled for three days in Pentridge Prison Melbourne in 1916 for defying government’s call-up order for military. Although holding such strong beliefs Curtin passed conscription for WWII.

15) Francis Forde holds the records for the shortest term as Prime Minister for a mere 8 days.

16) Ben Chifley graduated as one of the youngest first-class locomotive engine driver at 28. Chifley died of a massive heart attack on the 13th of June 1951 in Canberra, whilst parliamentarians attended State Ball at Parliament House. Once hearing the news Prime Minister Menzies told everyone to go home. Ben Chifley ghost is said to haunt Canberra.

17) Harold Holt’s father married one of his former girlfriends…… So she became his step mother. After going missing while swimming and his body never found, in good Australian humour a local Melbourne swimming pool was named in his honour.

18) Sir John McEwen at the age of 16, worked at a Crown Solicitor’s office under Frederick Whitlam, father of future PM Gough Whitlam. At the age of 67 years McEwen was the oldest ever incoming Prime Minister. Due to only being Prime Minister for two months McEwen, after his death did not want a fancy PM headstone.

19) Sir William McMahon employed young sailors in tight-fitting bell-bottom trousers to caddy for him at golf.

20) Sir John Gorton survived three flying accidents and ship being torpedoed during the Second World War. Gorton was also the only PM to voted himself out of office.

21) Gough Whitlam is only one of two Prime Ministers whose lifetime spanned the lives of all 25 Prime Ministers in Australia’s first century (John Gorton was the other) Whitlam was Australia’s longest-lived Prime Minister, dying at the age of 98 years, sadly 2 years short of receiving a 100th birthday card from Queen Elizabeth II, the woman who sacked him and his government in 1975.

22) Malcolm Fraser’s notorious incident in Memphis, Tennessee, in October 1986 is a night that would never be forgotten. After give a speech to the Memphis Economic Club Fraser decided to go for a drink at the Peabody Hotel. But for Fraser this was only the beginning of the night. He wandered into the foyer of a Memphis hotel frequented by prostitutes and drug dealers at 7am wearing nothing but a towel. He claimed to have no memory of the nights activities or were his pants where.

23) Bob Hawke was immortalised by the Guinness Book of Records in 1954 for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. This record was at the same English Hotel where President Bill Clinton smoked a joint.

24) Paul Keating left school at the age of 14, and managed a rock band called The Ramrods. Keating is the only Australian PM to be on the cover of the Rolling Stones Magazine. As Prime Minister Keating asked journalists to stop photographing his bald patch.

25) John Howard is the only Liberal Party Prime Minister to have been educated in a state school. Howard also lived at his parents’ home until he was 32 years old.

26) Kevin Rudd is a descendent of transported convict Mary Wade, who had over three hundred relatives when she died and is considered as one of Australia’s ‘matriarchs’. At the age of 15, Rudd wrote to Prime Minister Gough Whitlam asking for advice on how to become involved in a diplomatic career. Whitlam suggested Rudd learn a foreign language, which he did Chinese (Mandarin).

27) Julia Gillard immigrated with her family to Adelaide in 1966 as ’£10 poms’. Gillard is the first female Prime Minister to be sworn in by the first female Governor-General Quentin Bryce. Gillard was also the first unmarried Prime Minister.

28) Tony Abbott during his student days, once saved a child who was swept out to sea. Another time, he helped save children from a burning house next to a pub where he was drinking. At the aged 26, he studied to become a Catholic priest.

29) Malcolm Turnbull is 2nd cousin of British actress Angela Lansbury, from Murder She Wrote.

 

On this day …….. 19th May 1915

John Simpson Kirkpatrick, born on the 6th of July 1892 in South Shields, County Durham, England, was a stretcher bearer with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs) at Gallipoli during World War I. Originally finding employment stevedoring and stoking on merchant ships, at the outbreak of World War I he immediately joined the Australian Army Medical Corps as a stretcher bearer under the name of “Jack Simpson”. Simpson landed at Anzac Cove on the 25th of April 1915 and, on the second day, took a donkey that had been landed as a water-carrier for one of the field artillery units. Several dozen donkeys had been bought at a Greek island on the way to Gallipoli but, with no way to land them, had been pushed overboard to swim to shore. Only four donkeys did not drown. Simpson’s gentle touch convinced the terrified donkey to walk through the artillery noise and chaos, and the two of them began carrying wounded soldiers from the battle line to the beach for evacuation. Leading the donkey or donkeys, which he variously named Duffy or Murphy, Simpson began his journeys from the beach, up Shrapnel Gully and then Monash Valley. He carried water on his way up and wounded on his way back, whistling confidently the whole time. Simpson continued this for three and a half weeks, disregarding the danger until, on the morning of the 19th of May 1915, following a night of vicious fighting after the arrival of turkish reinforcements, he was killed by Turkish machine gun fire near Steele’s Post as he was returning down Monash Valley with two wounded men. One man was shot with Simpson, but the man on the donkey’s back remained. The donkey continued on the well-worn track, obediently carrying the wounded man to where he would be tended. Today, the story of Simpson and his donkey is an Anzac legend. John Simpson Kirkpatrick, heroically rescued 300 wounded soldiers with a donkey at Gallipoli was recommended twice for the Victoria Cross, and the Distinguished Conduct Medal, however he was never decorated for his actions. The donkey or donkeys were taken over by New Zealand primary school teacher Richard Henderson, who continued the work of Simpson, maintaining the legend throughout the ANZAC campaign. When the ANZACs were evacuated under cover of darkness, eight months later, the donkey was also evacuated.

On this day …….. 25th of December 1916

An aggressive tiger snake which attacked Private Frederick Thoroughgood, a soldier who had been invalided home deaf and dumb from Gallipoli, was the means of his regaining both his speech and hearing. Private Thoroughgood, who since his return has been an inmate of the Camberwell Convalescent Home, Mont Albert-road, attended a picnic at Warrandyte on Christmas day. While walking through the bush he almost trod on the snake, which immediately showed fight, and Thoroughgood, after a short encounter, despatched the reptile with a stick. The affray excited Thoroughgood somewhat, and a little later his companions were surprised to hear him commence whistling. Shortly afterwards he asked in a normal voice, “Well, what’s the next item on the programme ?” Speech and hearing came to him, simultaneously, being doubtless the best Christmas box that he could have desired.