Frank Tudor

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The Honourable
Frank Tudor
Frank Tudor.jpg
Leader of the Opposition
Elections: 1917, 1919
In office
1916–1921
Deputy T. J. Ryan
Preceded by Joseph Cook
Succeeded by Matthew Charlton
Minister for Trade and Customs
In office
1908 – 1916 (intermittently)
Member of the Australian Parliament for Yarra
In office
30 March 1901 – 18 February 1922
Preceded by Seat created
Succeeded by James Scullin
Personal details
Born (1866-01-27)27 January 1866
Williamstown, Victoria
Died 10 January 1922 (age 55)
Richmond, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Fanny Jane Mead

Francis Gwynne "Frank" Tudor (29 January 1866 – 10 January 1922) was an Australian-born felt hatter and politician. He was the leader of the Australian Labor Party from 1916 until his death.

Early life[edit]

Tudor was born to John Llewellyn Tudor, a ballastman, and Ellen Charlotte Tudor, née Burt, both of Welsh origin, on 29 January 1866 at Williamstown, Victoria. However, the family soon moved to the Melbourne suburb of Richmond, where Tudor lived all his life.[1]

Upon leaving Richmond Central State School, and after short spells in a sawmill and a boot factory, Tudor entered the felt hat industry. Tudor apprenticed in Abbotsford and then travelled across Victoria in the hat trade. Tudor went to England, working in London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, marrying Alice Smale in Denton, Lancashire in 1894. Smale died the same year, but Tudor continued in the felt hat trade by moving to London and becoming vice-president of the local branch of the Felt Hatters' Union. In 1897 Tudor remarried to Fanny Jane Mead.[1]

As vice-president of the union Tudor became interested in union politics (as many Labor politicians were before their entry into politics) and persuaded the British unions to adopt the union label principle. Returning to Australia, Tudor worked at Abbotsford's mills and took a seat in the Victorian Trades Hall Council. In 1900 he became president.[1]

Entry into politics[edit]

A prominent figure in Richmond, Victoria, Tudor turned the Division of Yarra into the safest Labor seat in the country by winning that seat by a large margin in the 1901 federal election. Tudor was a deacon of the Congregational Church and angered some Protestants with his calls for Home Rule for Ireland.[1]

Group photograph of all Federal Labour Party MPs elected at the inaugural 1901 election, including Chris Watson, Andrew Fisher, Billy Hughes, and Tudor, front left.

Tudor was immediately elected the Labor Party's whip and assistant secretary. He ascended to the position of secretary in 1904, then Minister for Trade and Customs during the three Fisher ministries, from 1908–1909, 1910–1913, 1914–1915.[2] When Billy Hughes replaced Andrew Fisher as the Prime Minister, Tudor continued in the role of Minister for Trade and Customs until 1916, when he resigned from the Hughes ministry over his opposition to conscription.[1]


Leader of the Opposition[edit]

Hughes left the Labor Party at the end of 1916 due to his support for conscription, a policy that ran counter to Labor policy. He took 24 pro-conscription Labor MPs with him to form the National Labor Party, which merged with the Commonwealth Liberal Party later in the year to form the Nationalist Party.[3] Tudor was elected as the new leader of the Labor Party, and consequently became Leader of the Opposition as Hughes was able to stay in office as Prime Minister. Tudor led his party to a severe defeat in the 1917 federal election. The party was severely weakened by several of its early leaders following Hughes out of the party.

Hughes proved to be a popular wartime leader, and Tudor was never able to get the better of him. In 1919, T. J. Ryan, who since 1915 had been Premier of Queensland, was transferred to federal politics to serve under Tudor as a deputy. At the election later that year, Tudor led the ALP to a second heavy election loss. Tudor was increasingly seen as an ineffectual leader, and several elements were contemplating replacing him with Ryan. However, Ryan's early death in 1921 prevented him from taking Tudor's place.[1] Tudor's own health became markedly worse during 1921. He was increasingly unable to carry out his duties.

Death[edit]

On 10 January 1922, Tudor died, aged 55. He was the first leader of the Labor Party to die in office,[1] and the first Opposition Leader never to become Prime Minister. He was succeeded as the member for Yarra by future Prime Minister James Scullin.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g McCalman, Janet. "Tudor, Francis Gwynne (Frank) (1866–1922)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 1 June 2007. 
  2. ^ National Archives of Australia. "Australian Labor Party: The Hon Frank Tudor". Australian Labor Party. Archived from the original on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2008. 
  3. ^ Michael Duffy. "First World War – Who's Who – Billy Hughes". FirstWorldWar.com. Retrieved 2 January 2008. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Joseph Cook
Leader of the Opposition
1916–1922
Succeeded by
Matthew Charlton
Preceded by
Austin Chapman
Minister for Trade and Customs
1908–1909
Succeeded by
Robert Best
Preceded by
Robert Best
Minister for Trade and Customs
1910–1913
Succeeded by
Littleton Groom
Preceded by
Littleton Groom
Minister for Trade and Customs
1914–1916
Succeeded by
Billy Hughes
Party political offices
Preceded by
Billy Hughes
Leader of the Australian Labor Party
1916–1922
Succeeded by
Matthew Charlton
Parliament of Australia
New division Member for Yarra
1901–1922
Succeeded by
James Scullin