13 July 1945 Ben Chifley became Prime Minister

On 13 July 1945 Ben Chifley became Prime Minister of Australia, taking office after John Curtin died earlier in the month. Chifley was born and raised in Bathurst and worked on the railways for many years.

His digitised Personal Railway History Cards are available to view in the collection. Two of the cards list his work history while a third is a ‘record of engine failures and casualties’ and the delay caused.

The cards show that Joseph Benedict Chifley born in 1885 and started working for the railways as a "shop-boy" in 1903. Other positions listed are cleaner, oiler and fireman before becoming a driver in 1913. A stamp dated 14 Aug 1917 states he was dismissed for taking part in the 1917 General Strike. He retired from the railways in 1928.

Chifley was Prime Minister until 19 December 1949.

Source: Australian Prime Ministers Centre: MOAD Old Parliament House. Ben Chifley

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