Sir John Grey Gorton, Prime Minister of Australia 1911-2002

As befitted a future Captain of the Brasenose Boat Club, John Grey Gorton was in training with the Club nine days before he even became a member of the University. He rowed for the College within three weeks of his arrival in 1932.

After gaining a degree in Modern History he returned to Australia to manage the family orchard at Kerang, Victoria. He served in the RAAF during the second World War, during which service he was badly wounded in a plane crash.

He entered local government in 1946, and in 1949 was elected to the Senate. He held several Liberal Ministerial appointments in the 1960s and became the only Senator ever to be appointed Prime Minister in 1968, after the presumed death of Harold Holt led to an unexpected leadership contest. He then won his predecessor's seat in the House of Representatives.

Sir John Gorton was Prime Minister of Australia from 1968 to 1971, but is probably best remembered for the end of his term of office. In 1971 opposition to him within the Liberal Party led to a vote of no confidence in his leadership. After a tied vote he removed himself from office by giving his casting vote against himself.

For papers and records about Sir John Gorton please see the National Archives of Australia.

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