Former prime minister and world beer dinking record breaker, Bob Hawke has died at the age of 89.

The Labor legend died in his Sydney home today just two days before the May 18 federal election.

Hawke, arguably one of the most popular prime ministers in Australian history, is survived by his wife Blanche d’Alpuget, and children Susan, Stephen and Rosslyn.

Hawke was the third longest running Prime Minister in Australian history behind Sir Robert Menzies and John Howard.

A down to earth, approachable Prme Minister who 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.

On this day …….. 3rd of August 1856

Alfred Deakin was born on 3 August 1856 in Fitzroy, Melbourne. In 1879, Deakin gained a seat in the colonial Parliament of Victoria, and after holding office in several ministries, he began to turn his efforts towards the push for Federation. Following Federation in 1901, he was elected to the first federal Parliament as MP for Ballarat, becoming Attorney-General in Prime Minister Edmund Barton’s government. Deakin succeeded Barton as Prime Minister in 1902 when the latter retired. Deakin’s own Protectionist Party did not hold a majority in either house, and he was unwilling to accept aspects of Labor’s legislation, so he retired in 1904. Watson and Reid succeeded him, but when they proved unable to maintain a stable ministry, Deakin returned to office in 1905. He was pushed out by the Labor Party in 1908, but after forming a coalition with Reid, Deakin again returned as Prime Minister in 1909 heading up a majority government, a position he held until his defeat at the polls in 1910. Deakin retired from politics altogether in 1913, and died in 1919.


Ben Chifley the 16th Prime Minister of Australia 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 Hotel Kurrajong in Canberra.

Chris Watson Australia’s 3rd Prime Minister was born in Chile, South America and never became a British subject, so he was technically not eligible to sit in the Australian parliament let alone become Prime Minister. Watson become the first Labour Prime Minister in the World. One of his first jobs was to shovel horse manure from Parliament House in Sydney.

On this day …….. 5th of July 1945

The burden of being prime minister during the darkest days of the Second World War took its toll on the health of John Curtin. On 5 July 1945, just six weeks before the Japanese surrender, Curtin died at The Lodge. After a short period of lying in state, his memorial service was held in King’s Hall, Parliament House. His body was taken by gun carriage to RAAF Station Canberra and flown to his hometown of Perth on a RAAF Dakota A65-71. This aircraft is now held by the Australian War Memorial. General Douglas MacArthur said of Curtin: “The preservation of Australia from invasion will be his immemorial monument.” After Curtin’s death, Frank Forde became prime minister for eight days until Ben Chifley won a party leadership ballot. Chifley was in office when victory finally came in the Pacific.


Australia’s 29th Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is 2nd cousin of British actress Angela Lansbury, from Murder She Wrote. Turnbull while working for Australian media mogul Kerry Packer, Turnbull visited Hugh Hefner’s Playboy headquarters in Chicago in the 1970s to obtain the rights to bring the controversial adult magazine to Australia.

Sweet and Sour Pork – Harold holt

Serves 5

2 cups White flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
470 ml Melbourne Bitter Beer

900gms  pork
1 yellow capsicum
440gms tin pinapple pieces

1 cup apple cider vinegar
8 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp garlic salt

1. Mix 2 cups of plain flour, 1 tsp Salt, 1 tsp Pepper and 470 ml Melbourne Bitter Beer (fresh or stale). Make into a paste gradually adding more beer until you have the consistency of thin cream.

2. Cut pork into 3cm pieces and dip into batter, (without flouring beforehand) covering well.

3. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large, heavy bottom pot (I used my French oven with nice tall walls to reduce splatterage on the stove).

4. Cook pork in hot oil about 30 seconds per side or until golden. Having very hot oil is key. Cooking the pork through. Transfer pork to a 9×13 baking dish and continue dipping and sautéing remaining pork, adding more oil as necessary. Cooking tip: if you add oil to the pot, let it heat up a little before you add more pork.

5. Cut the top of the capsicum and remove the seeds. Cut in lengths and lightly sautéing with pineapple pieces. Add to pork.

5. In a medium saucepan, stir together 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 8 Tbsp tomato sauce, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tsp garlic salt and gently heat.

7. Pour sauce over sauteed pork, capsicum and pineapple.

Cooking tip: this recipe works well with chicken.

Harold Holt also recommended this batter for fish or apple or banana fritters.

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.


The Iced Vo Vo is a sweet biscuit first made by Arnott’s around 1904. It has two strips of pink icing and a strip of jam on top and is covered in desiccated coconut. Sales of the biscuit were boosted when Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, referred to it in his victory speech after the 2007 election, saying: “Friends, tomorrow, the work begins. You can have a strong cup of tea if you want, even an Iced VoVo on the way through. But the celebration stops there.”

On This Day ……. 30th May 1954

Sir Arthur Faddan (13th Prime Minister of Australia) was injured in a car accident at Grantham, about 80 miles from Brisbane on the eve of the Federal election on this day in 1954. He under when a minor operation for the removal of congealed blood. Because of the election on the Saturday after the accident, Prime Minister Menzies had not been able to visit Sir Arthur sooner. The Prime Minister was “deeply shocked” when he first heard of the accident and made arrangements to have half-hour telephone reports on Sir Arthur’s condition.

On This Day……… 9th April 1867

John Christian Watson, 3rd Prime Minister of Australia was born on this day. He was the first prime minister from the Australian Labour Party, and the first prime minister from the labour movement in the world. He was of Chilean birth, with German and New Zealand ancestry.

Previously serving in state parliament for seven years, Watson was elected to federal parliament at the inaugural 1901 election, where the state Labour parties received a combined 15.8 percent of the first past the post primary vote against two more dominant parties. The Caucus chose Watson as the inaugural parliamentary leader of the Labour Party on the 8th of May 1901, just in time for the first meeting of parliament. Labour led by Watson increased their vote to 31 percent at the 1903 election and 36.6 percent at the 1906 election. From the first election, Labour held the balance of power, giving support to Protectionist Party legislation in exchange for concessions to enact the Labour Party policy platform. Watson’s term as Prime Minister was brief only four months, between the 27th of April and the 18th of August 1904. He resigned as Labour leader in 1907 and retired from Parliament in 1910. Labour, led by Andrew Fisher would go on to win the 1910 election with 50 percent of the primary vote, ushering in Australia’s first elected majority government, and also the first elected Senate majority. Watson with others were later expelled from the party he helped found over the issue of conscription for World War I.

According to Percival Serle, Watson “left a much greater impression on his time than this would suggest. He came at the right moment for his party, and nothing could have done it more good than the sincerity, courtesy and moderation which he always showed as a leader”. Alfred Deakin wrote of Watson: “The Labour section has much cause for gratitude to Mr Watson, the leader whose tact and judgement have enabled it to achieve many of its Parliamentary successes”.



On this day …….. 22nd of December 1967

A memorial service for Prime Minister Harold Holt was held at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Melbourne on this day in 1967, only five days after his disappearance. The service was attended by 10,000 people and a number of international dignitaries including former and incoming Prime Ministers of Australia.

Those attending included:

President Johnson of America, President Văn Thiệu of South Vietnam, President Chung-hee of South Korea, President Marcos of Philippines, Vice President Yen of Taiwan

New Zealand prime minister Mr Holyoake, Britain’s Prime Minister Harold Wilson, Prime Minister Mulinu II of Western Samoa, Prime Minister Kittikachorn of Thailand, Prime Minister Yew of Singapore, Dep Prime Minister Rahman of Malaysian

Prince Phurisara of Cambodia, Prince Charles of England, Governor General Lord Casey

Former Prime Ministers of Australia – Robert Menzies Arthur Fadden Frank Ford

Incoming Prime Ministers of Australia – John McEwen Billy McMahon Gough Whitlam Melcolm Frazer

This was the first event to be transmitted from Australia to other countries via satellite.