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20th Century Portraits Catalogue

William Morris Hughes (1864-1952), Prime Minister of Australia

Born in London and educated at St Stephen’s School, Westminster, before migrating to Queensland; became active in the growing labour movement and was elected a Labour Party member for the Lang electorate in Sydney in 1894; he held his seat at elections in 1895 and 1898; he read for the bar throughout the 1890s, and was admitted to it in 1903; when Labour held office, Hughes was minister for external affairs and then attorney-general; he became party leader and prime minister in 1915 when Andrew Fisher retired; in November that year Hughes led twenty-four followers out of the Labour Party and formed a government from their number and the Liberals – the Nationalist Party; this new party won the general election in 1917, with Hughes continuing on as prime minister until 1923; in 1931 he joined the new United Australia Party (UAP) and became minister for repatriation and health in 1934; he played a leading role in the party and was a minister almost continuously until 1941; from 1944, Hughes receded into the political background; he died at Lindfield in October 1952.