Sir Robert Menzies, Australia's most famous statesman, who died on Monday (15 May, 1978) is reported to be given a state funeral, with representatives from all over the world in attendance.
Sir Robert Menzies, Australia's most famous statesman, who died on Monday (15 May, 1978) is reported to be given a state funeral, with representatives from all over the world in attendance. Sir Robert, who died at his home in Melbourne after several years in poor health, was 83. He had dominated Australian politics for two decades.
SYNOPSIS: Sir Robert Menzies was a shopkeeper's son who led Australia in a role of increasing world importance before, during, and after the Second World War. Prime Minister first in 1939, he want to see for himself the effects of the war, and the role Australia was playing. Winston Churchill became his great friend.
When General Eisenhower became United States' President, Menzies was already developing as a world statesman. He travelled extensively, here with Eisenhower and the British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, in Washington after Suez. During the Suez crisis, Menzies went to Cairo to try and persuade Egypt's President Nasser that an international body should manage the canal.
As Prime Minister, he stressed Australia's links with Britain, and he firmly supported the Commonwealth family of nations. Under his leadership, Australia achieved a growing voice in world affairs.
By the time he met U.S. President Harry Truman, Menzies had already been Australia's youngest Prime Minister, out of office and re-elected for what was to become a record term in power. His political career spanned 37 years after starting work as barrister. Proud of his Scottish ancestry, he was made a Knight of the Thistle, Scotland's highest order. Then last year, Britain's Queen Elizabeth presented him with Australia's highest award, a knighthood of the Order of Australia. For Sir Robert Menzies, it was fitting that this final accolade should be presented at a cricket match, for cricket was his great love, after politics. Sir Robert left a widow, Dame Pattie Menzies, whom he married in 1920, and three children. He had been in poor Health since a stroke ten years ago.