Gordon Freeth

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The Honourable
Sir Gordon Freeth
KBE
Gordon Freeth.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Forrest
In office
10 December 1949 – 25 October 1969
Preceded by Nelson Lemmon
Succeeded by Frank Kirwan
Personal details
Born (1914-08-06)6 August 1914
Angaston, South Australia
Died 27 November 2001(2001-11-27) (aged 87)
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Joan Baker
Alma mater University of Western Australia
Occupation Lawyer
Gordon Freeth
Medal record
Men's Rowing
British Empire Games
Gold 1938 Sydney Coxed fours

Sir Gordon Freeth KBE (6 August 1914 – 27 November 2001) was an Australian politician.

Freeth was born in Angaston, South Australia, the son of Robert Freeth (1886-1979) and Gladys Mary Snashall.[1] He attended Sydney Church of England Grammar School and the Guildford Grammar School in Western Australia (where his father was headteacher from 1928 to 1949).

He was awarded a Bachelor of Laws by the University of Western Australia in 1938. He won a gold medal for rowing in the coxed fours in the 1938 British Empire Games in Sydney. In 1939 he married Joan Baker and they had twin daughters, Felicity and Susan and a son, Robert. In the same year he began practising law in Katanning, Western Australia. With the outbreak of World War II, he joined the Royal Australian Air Force and he flew Beaufort bombers in New Guinea and had been promoted to flight lieutenant by 1945, when he was demobilised.[2]

Political career[edit]

Freeth was elected as the Liberal Party of Australia member for Forrest in the 1949 election. He was appointed Minister for the Interior and Minister for Works in 1958 and in 1963 he was appointed Minister for Shipping and Transport. In February 1968, he was appointed Minister for Air, replacing Peter Howson. He was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs, replacing Paul Hasluck, in February 1969 when Hasluck became Governor-General. He was defeated at the 1969 election by the Australian Labor Party candidate, Frank Kirwan.[2]

Freeth was Ambassador to Japan from 1970 to 1973 and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 1977 to 1980.

He died in Perth in 2001, predeceased by his wife, but survived by his three children.[2]

Honours[edit]

Freeth was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1978.[3][2]

Notes[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Allen Fairhall
Minister for the Interior
Minister for Works

1958–1963
Succeeded by
John Gorton
Preceded by
Hubert Opperman
Minister for Shipping and Transport
1963–1968
Succeeded by
Ian Sinclair
Preceded by
Peter Howson
Minister for Air
1968–1969
Succeeded by
Dudley Erwin
Preceded by
Paul Hasluck
Minister for Foreign Affairs
1969
Succeeded by
William McMahon
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Nelson Lemmon
Member for Forrest
1949–1969
Succeeded by
Frank Kirwan
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Allen Brown
Australian Ambassador to Japan
1970 – 1973
Succeeded by
Mick Shann
Preceded by
Sir John Bunting
Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
1977–1980
Succeeded by
Sir James Plimsoll