Swearing-in of the Watson Labour GovernmentPrint Page Print this page

Watson Labour Government : 10-September-2011
Watson Labour Government : 10-September-2011
Photographs supplied by Graeme Saunders

Australia`s third prime minister, Chris Watson, led the world`s first national Labour government.

The Watson minority government was elected in 1904 amid much scepticism about its ability to run the country. Although it lasted only four months, the Watson government earned the respect of many of its conservative critics and showed that Labour could govern effectively which is the real legacy of its time in power.

The Watson Government was sworn in at Melbourne`s Old Treasury Building. 

MELBOURNE, Wednesday. The ceremony of swearing in the members of the new Labor Ministry was performed by the Governor-General at the Old Treasury, Spring street, today. Punctually at 11 o’clock his Excellency Lord Northcote and Mr Bulkeley Johnson, private secretary, proceeded to the room where the meetings of the Federal Executive Council are held. A few minutes later the members of the new Ministry assembled in the corridor, and, headed by Mr Watson, the Prime Minister and Treasurer, they entered the room in the following order of precedence :—Mr W. Hughes (External Affairs), Mr H. B. Higgins (Attorney General), Mr E. L. Batchelor (Home Affairs), Mr A. Fisher (Customs), Senator A. Dawson (Defence), Mr H. Mahon (Postmaster-General), and Senator McGregor (Vice-President of the Executive Council). The Prime Minister was attired in black Beaufort coat, and wore a boxer hat. Mr Higgins had on frock coat and belltopper. All the other members of the Ministry wore ordinary sac suits. With his Excellency in the room was Captain Steward, his official secretary. The oath of allegiance was first taken. The second oath was that of office, and all the Ministers, excepting the hon. Minister, Senator McGregor subscribed. 
Ballarat Star (Vic), 28 April 1904.

Note: The ALP adopted the formal name "Australian Labour Party" in 1908, but changed the spelling to "Labor" in 1912.


Address:20 Spring Street, Old Treasury Building, East Melbourne, 3002
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.813232
Long: 144.974328
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Government
Actual Event Start Date:27-April-1904
Actual Event End Date:27-April-1904


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 27th April, 2004
Front Inscription

This plaque commemorates the swearing-in of the Government of J C (Chris) Watson 

The first national Labor Government in the world at 11.00 am on 27 April 1904.

Unveiled by the Hon R J L Hawke AC

27 April 2004

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