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Andrew Fisher

Like Alfred Deakin, Andrew Fisher was Prime Minister three times, in 1908–09, 1910–13 and 1914–15. Although very different in background, these two men share the title of founder of the new nation’s statutory structure.

A studio portrait of the prime ministerial family in 1910

A studio portrait of the prime ministerial family in 1910 shows Andrew and Margaret Fisher with Robert (left), Andrew junior, Henry, Margaret junior, and new baby John. The youngest child, James, was born in 1912, during Fisher's second term in office.

NAA: M1406, 2

Andrew Fisher’s politics were formed at the coalface. At the age of ten, he became one of many boys working in Scottish mines. He was still a coalminer when he migrated to Queensland thirteen years later.

Fisher was a founding member of both the Labor Party in Queensland and of the federal parliamentary Labor Party. He held the House of Representatives seat of Wide Bay from 1901 until 1915.

When Fisher was Prime Minister a number of important projects were undertaken. The Royal Australian Navy was established, the Commonwealth Bank was set up, the Northern Territory of South Australia was transferred to the Commonwealth, the federal capital of Canberra was founded, and the construction of the trans-Australian railway line linking Perth to the other capitals was begun. As well as introducing maternity allowances, Fisher acknowledged the need for greater political equality for women.

Tall and handsome, Andrew Fisher always retained his distinctive Scots accent.

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