70th Anniversary of the Liberal Party of AustraliaPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Richard Yates

The bust of Sir Robert Menzies, commemorates the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Liberal Party of Australia. Senator Scott Ryan organised a group of parliamentarians to purchase the sculpture.

In 1944, the Liberal Party of Australia was founded after a three-day meeting held in a small hall not far from the old Parliament House in Canberra. The meeting was called by the then Leader of the Opposition (United Australia Party) Robert Menzies.  Robert Menzies had already served as Prime Minister of Australia (1939-41), but he believed that the non-Labor parties should unite to present a strong alternative government to the Australian people.  Eighty men and women from 18 non-Labor political parties and organisations attended the first Canberra conference. 

Robert Menzies believed the time was right for a new political force in Australia - one which fought for the freedom of the individual and produced enlightened liberal policies.  On October 16, 1944, the name The Liberal Party of Australia was adopted, uniting the many different political organisations. Two months later, at the Albury Conference, the Party’s organisational and constitutional framework was drawn up.  The name Liberal was chosen deliberately for its associations with progressive nineteenth century free enterprise and social equality. By May 1945 membership of the Liberal Party had swelled to 40,000.

It fought its first election in 1946 with some success and in 1947, the Liberal Party won State Government in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria. In 1949 the Liberals, in coalition with the Country Party, were first elected to national government.  Sir Robert Menzies went on to lead Australia and the Liberal Party for 17 years, before he retired from politics in 1966.

The Liberal Party has become Australia’s most successful postwar party; it was elected to Government for 23 years from 1949 to 1972, and for another term of more than seven years from 1975 to 1983.  In 1996, the Australian people again re-elected the Liberal Party, in Coalition with the National Party of Australia, to govern Australia in a landslide win, and in 1998, 2001 and 2004 that government was re-elected.


Address:Parliament Drive, Parliament House, Liberal Party Meeting Room, Capital Hill, 2600
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.308105
Long: 149.124553
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:Culture
Artist:Richard Yates
Monument Manufacturer:Philip Mune


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 17th July, 2015
Front Inscription

Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Menzies, KT, AK, CH, FAA, FRS, QC

Prime Minister 26 April 1939 to 29 August 1941  19 December 1949 to 26 January 1966 founder of the Liberal Party of Australia

Donated to the Parliamentary Liberal Party on the 70th anniversary of its foundation by Scott Ryan, Mitch Fifield, Michael Ronaldson, Andrew Robb, Kevin Andrews, Kely O`Dwyer, Josh Frydenberg and Bruce Bilson

Commissioned by the Castlemaine Branch of the Liberal Party, created by sculptor Richard Yates and cast in bronze by artisan Philip Mune

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