Parliament House in Canberra, Australia.
HTBS’s contributor Louis Petrin in Australia writes,
Last week Australia saw a change of government. Why mention this in HTBS? Well the number of government leaders who had rowed is impressive – of the 28 Prime Ministers of Australia, seven were rowers! That is an amazing 25%.
Can any other country in the world claim their leaders to be rowers?
Here is a list of the rowers:
Edmund Barton – Protectionist Party – rowed in 2 seat for Sydney University at the very first inter-university boat race in Melbourne in December 1870 and won by Melbourne Uni. Barton was also a foundation member of the Sydney Rowing Club and our 1st Prime Minister in 1901.
Chris Watson – Labor Party – born in Chile (only Australian Prime Minister to be born outside of Australia, or the British Isles) he was Federal Labor’s first leader and the 3rd Prime Minister, had little schooling but rowed in the 1890s like many workers did at the time.
John Grey Gorton – Liberal Party – schoolboy at Shore (where he shared a dorm with Errol Flynn), then went to Brasenose College, Oxford University in October 1932 where he ‘majored in rowing’. The country’s 19th Prime Minister.
William McMahon – Liberal Party – Sydney Grammar 1st VIII in 1926; the 20th Prime Minister.
Gough Whitlam – Labor Party – St. Paul’s College and won a Blue at Sydney Uni 1938; the 21st Prime Minister.
Tony Abbott – Liberal Party – member of the winning 2nd VIII at the GPS Regattas in 1974 and 1975. Australia’s 28th and the current Prime Minister.