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Photographs supplied by Tom Bird

A monument commemorates the  former New Zealand Prime Minister, Michael Joseph Savage.

One of eight children, his father died when he was five and his mother struggled thereafter. He left school and worked as a shop assistant in Benalla at the age of 13. Savage lost his job in the 1890s depression and wandered about NSW as a farm hand.

He went to New Zealand in 1907 and became involved with the union movement and Socialist Party. In the midst of the Great Depression he became the leader of the Labour Party and the prime minister in 1935. Savage`s government introduced a social security system in 1938. He died of cancer in 1940 while still prime minister.


Address:Gooramadda & Kilborn Roads, Prentice North, 3685
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.03493
Long: 146.49828
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Government


Front Inscription

Michael Joseph Savage
1872 - 1940

Mine worker and political organiser Rutherglen District  1900 - 1907

Prime Minister of New Zealand 1935 - 1940

Left Side Inscription

Michael Joseph Savage 1872 - 1940
First Labor Prime Minister of New Zealand

Born March 12th 1872 at Tatong near Benalla, the 8th child of Richard Savage & Johanna Hayes.  After leavving school, he worked on his father`s farm and then as a shop assistant in Benalla for several years.  Then working on farms in the Riverina, lastly on a farm owned by Sir Samuel McCaughey, one of the pioneers of irrigation in New South Wales, in an area where the town of Griffiths now stands.

In 1900 he worked in the North Prentice Gold Mine, near Rutherglen, as  a miner, with further study as a winding driver.  When  the Rutherglen Co-operative Distribution Society was formed in 1906, he was appointed secretary.  He took an active interest in the Trade Union Movement in Victoria.  He was the Secretary of the North Prentice Political Labor League.  At the age of 35 years, he left for New Zealand in 1907.

After workinf for a time as an engineer in a flax mill at Palmerston North, he went to auckland and was empolyed in the Captain Cook Brewery.  He becamse President of the Auckland Trade & Labor Council in 1910.  This led to the formation of the New Zealand Labor Party in 1916.  In 1919 he was elected M.P. for Auckland West and held the seat until his death.  In 1922 he was elected Deputy leader of the New Zealand Labor Party.  He became Prime Minister of New Zealand in 1935.  He died in Wellington on 27th March 1940.

He loved his fellow man.

Courtesy of the Rutherglen Historical Society

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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