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Ben ChifleyPrint Page Print this page

03-May-2015
03-May-2015

Photographs supplied by Arthur Garland

An obelisk over the grave commemorates Ben Chifley, former Australian Prime Minister.

Ben Chifley, the son of a blacksmith and the prime minister of Australia from 1945 to 1949, was born at Bathurst in 1885 and maintained his connections with the city until the end of his life. He joined the New South Wales railways at 17 and, at 26, became the youngest locomotive driver in the state. Chifley became a union representative in 1913 but was demoted to cleaner due to his involvement in the Great Strike of 1917.

He entered parliament as the member for Macquarie (the local seat) in 1928 and became the treasurer and minister for postwar reconstruction in Curtin`s government. When Curtin died in the last month of World War Two Chifley became prime minister. From 1949 until his death in 1951 he was leader of the opposition. He was interred at Bathurst.

Every State of the Commonwealth was represented at Bathurst (N.S.W.) on June 15, when two thousand people witnessed the unveiling of a grey marble and granite monument over the grave of the late Prime Minister J. B. Chifley, by the Leader of the Federal Labor Party, Dr. H. V. Evatt. 

The monument is 12ft. high and of simple monolithic design with three grey marble tiers mounted on a stone base. The centre tier bears a quotation from Mr. Chifley's last public speech reading: " If an idea is worth fighting for, no matter what the penalty, fight for the right, and truth and justice will prevail." 

"Today we commemorate the life and work of Joseph Benedict Chifley," said Dr. Evatt when unveiling the memorial. "It is just one year since he died when actively engaged in his Parliamentary duties. The suddenness and shock of his death caused widespread sorrow. The voice of party conflict was stilled. It was universally realised that Australia had lost one of the very greatest of our sons. The verdict of history will acclaim Ben Chifley as an outstanding leader of the Australian Labor Movement, as a fighter for the betterment of the weaker and less privileged, not only here but everywhere in the world."
Excerpt from  Worker (Brisbane), 23 June 1952.

Location

Address:Mitchell Highway & Dean Street, Bathurst Cemetery, Bathurst, 2795
State:NSW
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.413309
Long: 149.549371
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - Federal
Actual Event STart Date:13-July-1945
Actual Event End Date:10-December-1949
Link:http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/adbonli…

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 15th June, 1952
Front Inscription

Joseph Benedict
Chifley MHR PC
   Prime Minister
Of The Commonwealth
   Of Australia
July 1945 - Dec 1949.
 Beloved Husband Of
       Elizabeth 
    Died 13-6-1951
    Aged 65 years.
Resquiescat At Pace

"If an idea is worth fighting for,
no matter the penalty, fight for
the right, and truth and justice
will prevail"

                 J. B. C. 10/6/1951

Erected By The Federal Executive
Of The A.L.P. And The A.C.T.U.
On Behalf Of The Labour Movement
             Of Australia

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