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Hawke

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Albert Redvers George Hawke (Labor) February 23 1953 to April 2, 1959



Albert Hawke caused one of the State's biggest political upsets of the century by winning the seat of Northam and ousting Premier Sir James Mitchell, who had held the seat for 28 years.

Hawke was born in South Australia and came to WA in 1928. He had limited schooling as a boy and in fact left school to take up a job as an apprentice clockmaker and jeweller at the age of 13. At 15, he became a clerk in a lawyer's office and it was then that he also joined the ALP.

His first foray into politics was in 1924 when he won a seat in the South Australian Parliament at 23, making him the youngest member to have taken a seat in the Assembly. He lost the seat by 11 votes three years later.

The following year he moved to WA and became a country organiser for the ALP. Just five years later he was elected to WA's Parliament, winning the seat of Northam by 460 votes and causing a political sensation by dislodging Sir James.

Bert Hawke, as he was known, kept hold of the seat for the next 35 years. He held portfolios in the Collier, Willcock and Wise governments including Employment and Labour.

He took over as party leader from Wise in 1951 and led the ALP back into office two years later. He became Premier Treasurer and Minister for Child Welfare and Industrial Development.

Hawke's premiership was known as a dynamic period in WA industry. His government was known for its success in encouraging industrial development in WA through the use of interest free loans and free factory sites.

The ALP was defeated in 1959 and he continued as Leader of the Opposition until 1966. He retired from politics in 1968 and returned to live in South Australia.

Bert Hawke was former Prime Minister Bob Hawke's uncle.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.