Ben ChifleyPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Arthur Garland

The house of Ben Chifley, the former Prime Minister of Australia is dedicated as a memorial to him.  A plaque erected in 1985 during Bathurst's Civic Centenary commemorates his birth in 1885. 

No.10 Busby Street was purchased as a rental property for £200 by George McKenzie, engine driver and canny investor. The McKenzies lived directly behind No.10, on Logan Street. Neither George or his 17 year old daughter, Elizabeth, could have imagined then that future occupants would include a Prime Minister - and that his wife would be Elizabeth.

In 1914, the McKenzies gave tenancy of the house as a wedding gift to their daughter and her bridegroom, Ben Chifley. In 1920, full title was gifted to Elizabeth, in the words of the deed, 'in consideration of natural love and affection'. Elizabeth, in turn, transferred title to joint ownership with Ben in consideration, not only of love and affection, but also 'of the sum of 10 shillings paid'. From 1914, until Ben’s death in 1951 and that of Elizabeth in 1962, this house would be the only home known to the Chifleys.

Following a public appeal for funds, Bathurst City Council purchased the house and its contents in 1972 as a memorial to Prime Minister Chifley. Opened by Prime Minister Whitlam on 24 March 1973, the property has been maintained as a house museum since then.

Joseph Benedict (Ben) Chifley (1885-1951), prime minister and locomotive engine driver, was born on 22 September 1885 at Bathurst, New South Wales. Ben Chifley came from a humble background and had only a basic school education. He was employed for 25 years on the New South Wales railways, working his way up to become an engine-driver and a leading member of the union.

Chifley became Treasurer in John Curtin's Labor government, with major responsibility for gearing the economy to wartime production. He remained Treasurer until his loss of government in 1949. He also served as Minister for Post-war Reconstruction from 1942 to 1945. Chifley became Prime Minister following Curtin's death, succeeding the caretaker Prime Minister, Francis Forde, on 13 July 1945.



Address:10 Busby Street, Chifley Home, Bathurst, 2795
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.432675
Long: 149.577658
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - Federal


Front Inscription

Plaque :

THIS COTTAGE Was Declared An Historical Place By The HON.E.G.WHITLAM Q.C.  Prime Minister of Australia
24 - 3 - 73

Plaque :

This Was The Home of The Rt. Hon. J. B. Chifley
A Native Of Bathurst Who Was Prime Minister Of Australia From 1945 To 1949.

Plaque :

This Plaque Commemorates The Birth On 
22nd September, 1885 Of 
The Prime Minister of Australia 
From 1945 to 1949.

Unveiled By 
The Prime Minister The Right Honourable R. J. Hawke, M.P., 
On 21st September, 1985, 
During Bathurst`s Civic Centenary Year.

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