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Sir Robert Menzies the 12th Prime Minister of Australia 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.

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 …….. 20th of June 1988

Decimal currency was first introduced in Australia on 14 February 1966. The new Australian dollar replaced the Australian pound, which was different to the Pound Sterling, and introduced a decimal system. Australian Prime Minister at the time and devout monarchist, Robert Menzies, wished to name the currency “the Royal”, and other names such as “the Austral” were also proposed. Menzies’s influence meant that the name “Royal” prevailed, and trial designs were prepared and printed by the printing works of the Reserve Bank of Australia. The name “Royal” proved unpopular, and it was later shelved in favour of “Dollar”. On 20 June 1988, the Australian $2 coin went into circulation, replacing the original Australian $2 banknote. The gold coin features an Aboriginal tribal elder set against a background of the Southern Cross and native grass trees.

On this day …….. 6th September 1952

The 12th Prime Minister of Australia Robert Menzies and his family were involved in a near-serious mishap when leaving Fairbairn airport, Canberra, to Melbourne on this day in 1952. The R.A.A.F. Dakota in which they were travelling blew out a tyre just before leaving the ground when travelling at about 90 m.p.h. The plane swerved to one side, ran off the airstrip and pulled up less than 50 yards from the fence at the end of the airstrip. Mr. Menzies commented after the accident: “I’m glad it happened going up and not coming down. I suppose this means I will have to miss seeing Carlton beating Fitzroy this afternoon.” This was the second accident in which Mr. Menzies was involved in approximately 500,000 miles of flying. The other occasion was during the referendum tour in 1951, when the flying boat in which he was to travel from Sydney to Hobart had to turn back twice because of engine trouble. On the third attempt to leave its moorings, a line which had not been released dragged a stanchion from the plane when it was running out to begin taxiing to take off. Carlton lost to Fitzroy by one point. Score was 68/69.

 

On this day …….. 29th of August 1941

Arthur Fadden, the second of five men who served as Australian Prime Minister during World War II, is sworn into office.

At the time that World War II began, Australia’s Prime Minister was Robert Menzies. It was Menzies who made the announcement in September 1939 that Australia was at war with Germany. However, party dissension led Menzies to resign as Prime Minister in August 1941. Menzies’ successor was Arthur Fadden. Fadden was born in Ingham, Queensland in 1895, and first entered politics as an alderman for Townsville in the State Parliament. After losing Townsville in 1935, and declaring his exit from politics permanently, he then won the Federal seat of Darling Downs in 1936. Fadden was one of five Country Party members included when Menzies reshuffled his Cabinet to form a coalition government with the Country Party in March 1939. He was given the portfolios of Air and Civil Aviation when three Country Party ministers were killed in an aeroplane crash in August 1940. He rose to the position of Deputy Leader of the Country Party and, following a leadership crisis within the party, was officially elected leader of the Country Party in March 1941. During this time, he also served as Deputy Prime Minister while Menzies was overseas for four months. Soon after Menzies’ return from overseas, party dissension caused him to resign. A joint United Australia Party – Country Party meeting resulted in Arthur Fadden being elected Prime Minister, and he was sworn in to office on 29 August 1941. However, in the federal election five weeks later, the coalition government lost majority support in the House of Representatives, and John Curtin became Prime Minister.

On this day …….. 28th of August 1941

Robert Gordon Menzies was born in the Victorian town of Jeparit on 20 December 1894. In 1928 he entered politics after being elected to Victoria’s Legislative Council for East Yarra. After six years in Victorian state politics as Attorney-General and Minister for Railways (1928–34), he was elected to federal parliament as member for Kooyong. On April 18, 1939, he was elected leader of the United Australia Party following the death of Joseph Lyons eleven days earlier, and became Prime Minister on 26 April 1939. On 28 August 1941, party dissension led Menzies to resign as Prime Minister. However, after forming the Liberal Party of Australia from the remnants of the UAP in 1944, Menzies regrouped to become Prime Minister for the second time on 19 December 1949 when the new Liberal Party, in coalition with the Country Party, beat Labor. He then remained as Prime Minister for another 16 years, a record which has not been broken in Australian politics. He retired in 1966, and died in 1978.

 

Sir Robert Menzies the 12th Prime Minister of Australia 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.

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 …….. 20th of June 1988

Decimal currency was first introduced in Australia on 14 February 1966. The new Australian dollar replaced the Australian pound, which was different to the Pound Sterling, and introduced a decimal system. Australian Prime Minister at the time and devout monarchist, Robert Menzies, wished to name the currency “the Royal”, and other names such as “the Austral” were also proposed. Menzies’s influence meant that the name “Royal” prevailed, and trial designs were prepared and printed by the printing works of the Reserve Bank of Australia. The name “Royal” proved unpopular, and it was later shelved in favour of “Dollar”. On 20 June 1988, the Australian $2 coin went into circulation, replacing the original Australian $2 banknote. The gold coin features an Aboriginal tribal elder set against a background of the Southern Cross and native grass trees.

On this day …….. 13th May 1984

Decimal currency was first introduced in Australia on the 14th of February 1966. The new Australian dollar replaced the Australian pound, which was different to the Pound Sterling, and introduced a decimal system. Australian Prime Minister at the time, Robert Menzies, a devout monarchist, wished to name the currency “the Royal”, and other names such as “the Austral” were also proposed. Menzies’s influence meant that the name “Royal” prevailed, and trial designs were prepared and printed by the printing works of the Reserve Bank of Australia. The name “Royal” proved unpopular, and it was later shelved in favour of “Dollar”. The Australian $1 banknote was replaced by a coin on the 13th of May 1984. The original standard coin depicts five kangaroos, but the one dollar coin is also used to carry commemorative designs. Such commemorative designs include the International Year of Peace in 1986, Australia’s bicentenary in 1988, the 1992 Barcelona Games, Landcare Australia in 1993, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith in 1997, International year of older persons in 1999 and the International Year of Volunteers in 2001.

ON THIS DAY ……. 29th March 1900

Sir John McEwen was born in Chiltern, on this day in 1900. His father died in 1907 and consequently McEwen was raised by his grandmother with her sister. He was educated at state schools and at 15 became a junior public service clerk. He enlisted in the Army immediately upon turning 18 but the First World War ended while he was still in training. He commenced dairy farming at Tongala (Victoria), near Shepparton, and then changed to sheep and cattle farming in nearby Stanhope. McEwen was the 18th Prime Minister of Australia. He was the last member of the Country Party to serve as prime minister. He was nicknamed “Black Jack” by Robert Menzies due to his dark ‘beetle-browed’ appearance and temper.

 

 

On this day …….. 17th of January 1952

A 77-year old man who had ridden a bicycle from Perth to Canberra, presented the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on the steps of Parliament House with a book telling him how to live to 77. He was a veteran cyclist Ernie Old, who left Perth on his bicycle in October and hopes to be in Sydney shortly, where he will dip his cycle in the Pacific Ocean at Bondi to mark the end of the journey. He said he had made the trip to demonstrate that Australia was a wonderful country when a man of his age could do such things at he. The book which he presented to Mr. Menzies was “By Bread Alone.” which he wrote. He said it was the “key to physical fitness at 77.” Mr. Menzies, stating that he was glad to meet Mr. Old, and said he would welcome any recipe which gave him the agility Mr. Old had at his age.