Australia's Prime Ministers
Andrew Fisher, 1908–9; 1910–13; 1914–15
Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, Andrew Fisher, at the age of 52, became Prime Minister of Australia for the third time. Fishers main wartime achievement (apart from his role in helping to bring the Royal Australian navy into being in 1911) was the creation of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), the volunteer army that won many plaudits for its exploits during the war and which is still the focus of Australias public memory of that conflict. Fisher was responsible for overseeing the dispatch of the first Australian troops overseas and for laying the financial foundations of Australias war effort. He is perhaps best remembered for his commitment that Australia would defend Britain to the last man and the last shilling. Described as a tactful manager of business, Fisher was keen to maintain good relations with the opposition where questions of Australias war effort were concerned. During 1914 and 1915 Fisher governed a country that was largely united in its determination to carry its burden of the Empires war effort. In his earlier terms in office Fisher was an advocate for, and supporter of, compulsory military training, but during the war he opposed conscription.
Fisher's prime ministership ended on 26 October 1915 when he announced that he would relinquish leadership of the Labor Party to take up the post of Australia's High Commissioner in London.
Andrew Fisher in the Memorial's Collection
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Official records are listed in the National Archives of Australia's RecordSearch database which contains descriptions of records at both the National Archives and the Australian War Memorial.
[Official History, 1914–18 War: Records of Charles E W Bean, Official Historian:] Diary, Jun 1916; covers the raid by the 5th Infantry Brigade, a letter to Andrew Fisher and discussions with Sir Brudenell White, Brig Gen J Charteris, Sir Alexander Godley and Maj Gen J Paton. [Original – 1st set]
AWM38, 3DRL 606/47/1
[Official History, 1914–18 War: Records of Charles E W Bean, Official Historian:] Diary, Sep–Oct 1916; comments on Lord Birdwood, war fatigue, the visit of Andrew Fisher, Sir Keith Murdoch and E A Box to the Somme front, Canadian soldiers and tanks. [Original – 1st set]
AWM38, 3DRl 606/60/1
Keywords: Fisher, A Fisher, Andrew Fisher
Location: Australian War Memorial
Reference numbers: AWM38
Companion site to Australia's Prime Ministers maintained by the National Archives of Australia