Dudley Erwin

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The Honourable
Dudley Erwin
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Ballaarat
In office
10 December 1955 – 11 November 1975
Preceded by Bob Joshua
Succeeded by Jim Short
Personal details
Born (1917-08-20)20 August 1917
Died 29 October 1984(1984-10-29) (aged 67)
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Gwenda
Occupation Radio engineer, hotelier

(George) Dudley Erwin (20 August 1917 – 29 October 1984) was an Australian politician and briefly Minister for Air.[1]

During World War II, Erwin served as a flight lieutenant in the Royal Australian Air Force as a navigator in No. 31 Squadron and was involved in the South West Pacific. Prior to entering politics, he was an electrical radio engineer and a farmer. He also became a successful hotel-owner in Ballarat.[2]

Erwin was elected for the Liberal Party as the member of the House of Representatives seat of Ballaarat at the 1955 election. He was Government Whip from February 1967 to February 1969 and strongly supported John Gorton's election as Liberal leader following the disappearance and presumed drowning of Prime Minister Harold Holt on 17 December 1967. On 13 February 1969 he was appointed Minister for Air, in the reshuffle following Paul Hasluck's appointment as Governor-General. Gorton subsequently appointed one of his young staffers, Ainsley Gotto as his private secretary and came to rely on her for political advice. In November 1969, Erwin was left out of Gorton's second ministry.[3] Erwin's explanation for his dismissal was:

It's shapely, it wiggles and its name is Ainsley Gotto."[4]

Erwin chaired the Joint Select Committee on Parliamentary and Government Publications, which produced the first edition of the Australian Government Style Manual.[2] He retired from parliament at the 1975 election. He died of a heart attack and was survived by his wife, Gwenda and three children.[5][6]


Political offices
Preceded by
Gordon Freeth
Minister for Air
Succeeded by
Tom Drake-Brockman
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Bob Joshua
Member for Ballaarat
1955 – 1975
Succeeded by
Jim Short