Labor Royalty or Labor Rat: John Christian 'Chris' Watson (1867-1941) - National Archives of Australia

Join us to discover the contribution John Christian (Chris) Watson, Australia’s third Prime Minister, had on Australian political life.

About the Lecture

This year's lecture, delivered by historian and AuSI Foundation Fellow, Dr David Headon, focuses on Australia’s third prime minister, John Christian 'Chris' Watson.

Though his term lasted a bare four months during 1904, he established a number of significant 'firsts', most notably leading the world's first national labour/Labor government.

Despite his pre-eminent role in laying the foundations of the party during the Federation era, Watson's legacy is contested.

His story has a number of unpredictable twists and turns, and this lecture will explore the most intriguing of them, both before his prime ministership and after.

About the Speaker

David Headon is a cultural consultant and historian. Formerly Director of the Centre for Australian Cultural Studies, Cultural Adviser to the National Capital Authority and History and Heritage Adviser for the Centenary of Canberra, he is now a Foundation Fellow at the ANU Australian Studies Institute, a Parliamentary Library Associate and the Canberra Raiders club historian.

The First Eight Project launched in early 2018 as a joint undertaking between the Australian Parliamentary Library, the National Museum of Australia, the National Archives of Australia, the Victorian Parliamentary Library and the ANU Australian Studies Institute. The project incorporates a series of events, lectures, exhibitions, and a monograph series on the first eight Prime Ministers of Australia.

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Updated:  16 March 2023/Responsible Officer:  Institute Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications