Robert Menzies – Power in Numbers

Day 162 of Colourisation Project – October 16

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Liberal Party of Australia. On this day, October 16, 1944 the name ‘The Liberal Party of Australia’ was adopted, uniting many different political organisations. Two months later, at the Albury Conference, the Party’s organisational and constitutional framework was drawn up.

Robert Menzies

Photographer: Arthur Dickinson  –   Robert Menzies  – Coloured by Loredana Crupi

The name Liberal was chosen deliberately for its associations with progressive nineteenth century ‘free enterprise and social equality.’

Since 1944, the Liberal Party has governed Australia at the Federal level from 1949-72, 1975-83, 1996-2007 and 2013 to the present day but never on its own, always in Coalition  with the Nationals (originally known as the Country Party).

In 1944, the then Leader of the Opposition (United Australia Party) Robert Menzies, believing the time was right for a new political force in Australia called a meeting, which was to last three days to discuss the formation of a new party. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Liberal Party of Australia emerged.

Menzies who had already served as Prime Minister of Australia (1939-41), and leader of the United Australia Party believed that the non-Labor parties should unite to present a a single cohesive force to counter what he saw as the ‘massive monolithic unity of the Labour Party’.

Eighty men and women from 18 non-Labor political parties and organisations attended the first Canberra conference. Five years later in 1949, the Liberals, in coalition with the Country Party, were first elected to national government.

Menzies went on to lead Australia and the Liberal Party for 16 years and 38 days, becoming Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister before retiring from politics in 1966.

And the rest as they say…is history.


“As the etymology of our name ‘Liberal’ indicates, we have stood for freedom. We have realised that men and women are not just ciphers in a calculation, but are individual human beings whose individual welfare and development must be the main concern of government … We have learned that the right answer is to set the individual free, to aim at equality of opportunity, to protect the individual against oppression, to create a society in which rights and duties are recognised and made effective.”    –    Robert Menzies

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1 Response to Robert Menzies – Power in Numbers

  1. Pingback: Edmund Barton – Australia’s First Prime Minister | Random Phoughts

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