71 Facts About Arthur Calwell


Arthur Augustus Calwell was an Australian politician who served as the leader of the Labor Party from 1960 to 1967.


Arthur Calwell led the party through three federal elections, losing each one in turn.


Arthur Calwell became involved in the labour movement as an officeholder in the public-sector trade union.


Arthur Calwell was elected to the House of Representatives at the 1940 federal election, standing in the Division of Melbourne.


When Ben Chifley became prime minister in 1945, Arthur Calwell was made Minister for Immigration.


Arthur Calwell oversaw the creation of Australia's expanded post-war immigration scheme, at the same time strictly enforcing the White Australia policy.


In 1960, Evatt retired and Arthur Calwell was chosen as his successor, thus becoming Leader of the Opposition.


Arthur Calwell was one of the most prominent opponents of Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War, a stance that was not electorally popular at the time, voting age being then 21.


In 1966, Arthur Calwell survived a leadership challenge from his deputy Gough Whitlam, survived an assassination attempt with minor injuries, and finally led his party to a landslide defeat at the 1966 election, winning less than one-third of the total seats.


Arthur Calwell was 70 years old by that point, and resigned the leadership a few months later.


Arthur Calwell remained in parliament until the 1972 election, which saw Whitlam become prime minister, and died the following year.


Arthur Calwell was born on 28 August 1896, in West Melbourne.


Arthur Calwell was the oldest of seven children born to Margaret Annie and Arthur Albert Calwell.


Arthur Calwell's father worked as a police officer and retired as a superintendent of police.


Arthur Calwell's maternal grandfather was Michael McLoughlin, who was born in County Laois, Ireland, and arrived in Melbourne in 1847 after jumping ship.


Arthur Calwell married Mary Murphy, who was born in County Clare.


Arthur Calwell's paternal grandfather Davis Arthur Calwell was an Irish American born in Union County, Pennsylvania, who arrived in Australia in 1853 during the Victorian gold rush.


Arthur Calwell married Elizabeth Lewis, a Welshwoman, and settled near Ballarat, eventually becoming president of the Bungaree Shire Council.


Arthur Calwell began his education at St Mary's College, the local Mercedarian school.


Arthur Calwell's father remarried, eventually dying in 1938 at the age of 69.


Arthur Calwell was an officer in the Australian Army Cadets at the outbreak of World War I, and made two unsuccessful applications for a commission in the Australian Imperial Force.


Arthur Calwell joined the Young Ireland Society in 1914, and served as the organisation's secretary until 1916.


Arthur Calwell's residence was searched on one occasion, and his correspondence was routinely examined by censors.


On two occasions there were moves to have him dismissed from the military for disloyalty, but Arthur Calwell denied the accusations and there was little proof that he had been actively disloyal.


Arthur Calwell entered the Victorian Public Service in 1913, as a junior clerk in the Department of Agriculture.


Arthur Calwell transferred to the Department of the Treasury in 1923, where he remained until winning election to parliament in 1940.


Arthur Calwell served as secretary and vice-president of that organisation, which in 1925 was reorganised into the state branch of Australian Public Service Association.


Arthur Calwell was elected as the new organisation's inaugural president, serving until 1931.


Arthur Calwell joined the Labor Party at about the age of 18.


Arthur Calwell was elected secretary of the Melbourne branch in 1916, and from 1917 served as one of the Clerical Association's delegates to the state conference.


Arthur Calwell unsuccessfully sought Labor preselection for the Victorian Legislative Assembly and the Senate on a number of occasions, and was elected to the party's federal executive in 1926.


Arthur Calwell was an assistant secretary to state MP Tom Tunnecliffe for a period, and from 1926 served as secretary to William Maloney, the long-serving Labor member for the federal Division of Melbourne.


Maloney would remain in parliament until his death at the age of 85, and Arthur Calwell made no effort to force an early retirement, despite being widely seen as the heir apparent to the seat.


Arthur Calwell died a month before polling day; as a result, no by-election was held in the Division of Melbourne.


At the general election, Arthur Calwell easily retained the seat for the Labor Party.


In 1945 when Ben Chifley succeeded Curtin, Arthur Calwell became the inaugural Minister for Immigration in the post-war Chifley government.


Arthur Calwell overcame resistance to mass immigration by promoting it under the slogan "populate or perish".


Arthur Calwell's enthusiasm and drive in launching the migration program was a notable feature of the second term of the Chifley government, and has been named by many historians as his greatest achievement.


Arthur Calwell was a staunch advocate of the White Australia Policy.


In economic policy, Arthur Calwell was not a great advocate of nationalisation.


Arthur Calwell left ministerial office from the 1949 election when the Chifley government was defeated by the Liberal Party, led by Robert Menzies.


Arthur Calwell had originally supported the Industrial Groups in Victoria and continued to do so until the early 1950s.


Evatt became the Labor leader, and Arthur Calwell became his Deputy.


Arthur Calwell was made to choose between the Evatt-led official Labor Party and the "Groupers".


Evatt retired in 1960, and Arthur Calwell was acting leader before he succeeded him as Leader of the Australian Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition, with Gough Whitlam as his deputy.


Arthur Calwell opposed the use of Australian troops in Malaya and the establishment of American military communications bases in Australia.


Arthur Calwell upheld the traditional Labor policy of denying state aid to private schools.


At the 1963 election, Arthur Calwell hoped to build on his gains from two years earlier, but was severely damaged by a picture in The Daily Telegraph that showed him and Whitlam outside a Canberra hotel, waiting for word from Labor's Federal Conference as to the policies upon which they should fight the election.


Arthur Calwell made his strongest stand with his vehement opposition to Australia's military involvement in the Vietnam War and the introduction of conscription to provide troops for the war, publicly saying that "a vote for Menzies was a blood vote".


In particular, Whitlam's clear mastery of the media gave him a huge advantage over Arthur Calwell, who looked and sounded substantially older than his 70 years.


Arthur Calwell was regarded by 1966 as an aged relic of the Great Depression era.


Arthur Calwell was still campaigning about socialism and nationalisation, and continued to defend the White Australia Policy.


Arthur Calwell resigned as Labor leader two months after the election, in January 1967; Whitlam succeeded him.


Arthur Calwell was only the second victim of an attempted political assassination in Australia.


On 21 June 1966, Arthur Calwell addressed an anti-conscription rally at Mosman Town Hall in Sydney.


Arthur Calwell later visited Kocan in the mental hospital, and through a regular correspondence encouraged his eventual rehabilitation.


Arthur Calwell was frequently critical of Whitlam, especially since he knew that Whitlam intended abandoning the White Australia Policy.


At the 1972 election which brought Whitlam to the prime ministership, Arthur Calwell retired from Parliament.


Arthur Calwell was given a state funeral at St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne.


Arthur Calwell was survived by his wife Elizabeth and his daughter Mary Elizabeth.


Arthur Calwell attended Calwell's funeral, but became so overwhelmed by grief after arriving at the cathedral that he was unable to compose himself and leave his car.


Arthur Calwell died the following year in 1922, and ten years later, on 29 August 1932, he married Elizabeth Marren, a strong-willed, intelligent and well-read Irishwoman who was social editor of the Catholic weekly newspaper, the Tribune.


Arthur Calwell had met Elizabeth at Irish language classes run by the Gaelic League in Melbourne, and retained an interest in and fluency in the language.


Arthur Calwell's son, known as Art, died of leukaemia in June 1948 at the age of eleven.


Arthur Calwell was profoundly affected by his son's death, and subsequently wore only black neckties.


Arthur Calwell's daughter was described by The Canberra Times in 1995 as his "most passionate defender and admirer".


Outside of the political arena, Arthur Calwell was a devotee of the North Melbourne Football Club and was the first life member of the club.


Arthur Calwell was always devoted to the Roman Catholic Church despite his many conflicts with church leaders.


Arthur Calwell received a papal knighthood from Pope Paul VI and was made a Knight Commander with Star of the Order of St Gregory the Great for his lifelong service to the church.


Arthur Calwell attributed this to the press, stating that "because of some anti-Australian Asian journalist or perhaps because some Australian pressman with a chip on his shoulder, a Labor Party hater, the name of White was deliberately altered into a definition of colour".


Arthur Calwell believed himself to be free of personal prejudice against people of other races while believing that they should exist in separation.