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Sir Robert Menzies KT AK CH LLM QC

1894 – 1978

Rt Hon. Sir Robert Gordon Menzies KT AK CH PC QC (1894 - 1978) was Prime Minister of Australia for a record total of 19 years: from 1939 to 1941 and 1949 to 1966. Born in Jeparit, Victoria, Menzies attended school in Ballarat and studied at Melbourne University, where he gained a reputation as a brilliant speaker. Following early success at the Bar and in state politics, he entered Federal parliament in 1934. He became Prime Minister in the early years of World War 2 as leader of the United Australia Party, but bitter divisions led to his resignation and the disintegration of the UAP. From the back benches, Menzies founded the Liberal Party, which he led from 1944 to 1966. As Prime Minister through a period of remarkable national prosperity, Menzies cultivated the USA as a 'powerful friend', furthering the two nations' economic and military ties. A staunch monarchist, he was invested as the first Australian Knight of the Thistle and succeeded Winston Churchill as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports from 1965 to 1978.

Updated 2018