To answer the inevitable question of ‘why’ Menzies, and some other prime ministers, were given various nicknames, here is a guide to some of the more well-known ones.
The first prime minister, Edmund Barton, had been known as ‘Toby’ since childhood. The Bulletin magazine named him ‘Toby Tosspot’, after a poem by George Colman, and the name stuck. It was based on Barton’s love of long dinners with more than a few glasses of fine wine – a ‘tosspot’ is a slang term for a habitual drinker. His opponents latched onto it as an insult, and continued using it long after Barton’s retirement. A nastier variant was ‘Toby Tub’, which is a kind of chair, referencing Barton’s weight and accusations of laziness.