A self-conscious prime minister
On this day in 1939 Robert Menzies became prime minister for the first time. Heading the United Australia Party, he took up the reins of power following the death of Joseph Lyons and the interim prime ministership of Earle Page, heading a minority government. Within months Menzies would be taking the country into war, but in the early days he was adjusting to the position, at times with a surprising nervousness. In the following oral history excerpt Menzies’ long-term secretary, Hazel Craig, describes a different side to the man who was usually portrayed as fully in command:
The interview was recorded by Ken Begg in March 1996 and the full interview can be listened to at our Oral Histories website.