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Biographical entry Fisher, Andrew (1862 - 1928)

Politician - Federal - MHR, Politician - State - QLD (MLA) and Trade Union - Official


Australia’s fifth Prime Minister was born in Scotland 1862. He arrived in Australia at age twenty-three in 1885 and found work in the central Queensland mines where he established himself as a radical labour agitator. He emerged as leader of the Amalgamated Miners’ Association in Gympie, Queensland and then leader of the Workers’ Political Organisation, predecessor of the Queensland Labor Party. In 1893, Fisher was elected to represent Gympie in the State Parliament where he developed an interest in industrial conciliation and arbitration. He was defeated at the state elections in 1896 but reelected in 1899. He was one of four ministers in the Dawson Labor government, the first Labor government in Australia and possibly the world, which lasted seven days. A strong supporter of Federation in the 1890s, he switched from state politics to federal politics, winning the federal seat of Wide Bay at the federal election of May 1901. He would hold this seat until his retirement in 1915. Appointed minister for Trade and Customs in 1904 in the Watson Labor government, he was elected assistant leader of the House of Representatives when Labor found itself in opposition again in 1905. He became Prime Minister in November 1908 until June 1909. His second prime-ministership lasted from 1910 to 1913. Fisher was elected Prime Minister again in 1914 during Australia’s first double dissolution election and remained Prime Minister until his sudden resignation to take up the position of Australian high commissioner in London in 1915. His last few years were spent in London, where he died of a combination of heart disease, premature senility and influenza in 1928.

Archival resources

Fryer Library and Department of Special Collections, University of Queensland

  • Denis J. Murphy - Papers, UQFL 129; Fryer Library and Department of Special Collections, University of Queensland. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Papers of Andrew Fisher, 1883-1983 (bulk 1901-1921), 1883 - 1983, MS 2919; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Andrew Fisher, 1912, 1912, MS 5362; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Murphy, D.J., 'Andrew Fisher', in Serle, Geoffrey and Nairn, Bede (eds), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 8, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1981, pp. 502-507. Details

Edited Books

  • Grattan, Michelle (ed.), Australian Prime Ministers, New Holland Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd, Australia, 2001, 512 pp. Details

Online Resources

Sophie Papadopoulos