List of Prime Ministers of Australia by education

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The Prime Ministers of Australia have attended a variety of different educational institutions.

Until relatively recently, it was uncommon for prime ministers in Australia to hold a university degree. Out of the first ten prime ministers, only three attended university and only two held degrees. However, nine out of the most recent ten prime ministers have been university graduates. The University of Sydney (seven), the University of Oxford (five), and the University of Melbourne (four) have been the most frequently attended institutions. The vast majority of degrees awarded to future prime ministers were in either arts or law. Only Edmund Barton, Earle Page, and Robert Menzies undertook postgraduate studies that resulted in a substantive master's degree. Six others undertook postgraduate studies in the form of a second bachelor's degree, including four who did so at Oxford University and proceeded to a Master of Arts by seniority. No prime minister has held a substantive doctorate, although Earle Page was a medical doctor. Bob Hawke dropped out of a Ph.D. program.

Many of Australia's early prime ministers had limited formal education and left school at a young age to seek employment. Chris Watson, Andrew Fisher, and Joseph Cook all finished their formal schooling before the age of 13. John McEwen is the most recent prime minister to have had no secondary schooling, while Paul Keating is the most recent to have had no university education. Four early prime ministers were educated entirely outside of Australia – one in New Zealand and three in Great Britain. There has been a relatively even mixture of private schools and government schools, and many prime ministers alternated between the two systems. Only a handful of schools have hosted more than one future prime minister – Melbourne Grammar School (three), Sydney Grammar School (three), Wesley College, Melbourne (two), Abbotsholme College (two) and Sydney Boys High School (two).


Prime Minister Term(s) Schooling (most recent first) University
Edmund Barton 1901–1903 Sydney Grammar School
Fort Street Model School (Sydney)
University of Sydney (B.A., M.A.)
Alfred Deakin 1903–1904
Melbourne Grammar School
Ladies' College (Kyneton, Vic.)
University of Melbourne (law, no degree)
Chris Watson 1904 Weston School (Weston, NZ)
George Reid 1904–1905 Melbourne Academy
Andrew Fisher 1908–1909
Crosshouse Public School (Crosshouse, Scot.)
Joseph Cook 1913–1914 St Luke's Church of England School (Silverdale, Eng.)
Billy Hughes 1915–1923 St Stephen's School (Westminster, Eng.)
Dr Roberts's School (Llandudno, Wales)
McLaughlan's School (Llandudno, Wales)
Stanley Bruce 1923–1929 Melbourne Grammar School Trinity Hall, Cambridge (B.A.)
James Scullin 1929–1932 Mount Rowan State School (Ballarat, Vic.)
Trawalla State School (Trawalla, Vic.)
Joseph Lyons 1932–1939 Stanley State School (Stanley, Tas.)
St Joseph's Convent School (Ulverstone, Tas.)
Ulverstone State School (Ulverstone, Tas.)
Earle Page 1939 Sydney Boys High School
Grafton Public School (Grafton, NSW)
University of Sydney (M.B., Ch.M.)
Robert Menzies 1939–1941
Wesley College (Melbourne)
Grenville College (Ballarat, Vic.)
Humffray Street State School (Ballarat, Vic.)
Jeparit State School (Jeparit, Vic.)
University of Melbourne (LL.B., LL.M.)
Arthur Fadden 1941 Te Kowai State School (Te Kowai, Qld.)
Walkerston State School (Walkerston, Qld.)
John Curtin 1941–1945 Macedon State School (Macedon, Vic.)
St Francis's Boys' School (Melbourne)
Charlton State School (Charlton, Vic.)
Frank Forde 1945 St Mary's College (Toowoomba, Qld.)
Mitchell State School (Mitchell, Qld.)
Ben Chifley 1945–1949 Patrician Brothers' School (Bathurst, NSW)
Limekilns Public School (Limekilns, NSW)
Harold Holt 1966–1967 Wesley College (Melbourne)
Abbotsholme College (Sydney)
Nubba State School (Nubba, NSW)
Randwick Public School (Sydney)
University of Melbourne (LL.B.)
John McEwen 1967–1968 Wangaratta State School (Wangaratta, Vic.)
John Gorton 1968–1971 Geelong Grammar School (Geelong, Vic.)
Sydney Church of England Grammar School
Headfort College (Sydney)
Edgecliff Preparatory School (Sydney)
Brasenose College, Oxford (M.A.*)
William McMahon 1971–1972 Sydney Grammar School
Abbotsholme College (Sydney)
University of Sydney (LL.B., B.Ec.)
Gough Whitlam 1972–1975 Canberra Grammar School
Knox Grammar School (Sydney)
Mowbray House School (Sydney)
Chatswood Church of England Girls' School (Sydney)
University of Sydney (B.A., LL.B.)
Malcolm Fraser 1975–1983 Melbourne Grammar School
Tudor House School (Moss Vale, NSW)
Magdalen College, Oxford (M.A.*)
Bob Hawke 1983–1991 Perth Modern School
Maitland Primary School (Maitland, SA)
University of Western Australia (B.A., LL.B.)
University College, Oxford (B.Litt.)
Australian National University (law, no degree)
Paul Keating 1991–1996 De La Salle College (Sydney)
John Howard 1996–2007 Canterbury Boys' High School (Sydney)
Earlwood Primary School (Sydney)
University of Sydney (LL.B.)
Kevin Rudd 2007–2010
Nambour State High School (Nambour, Qld.)
Marist College Ashgrove (Brisbane)
Eumundi State School (Eumundi, Qld.)
Australian National University (B.A.)
Julia Gillard 2010–2013 Unley High School (Adelaide)
Mitcham Primary School (Adelaide)
University of Adelaide (arts, no degree)
University of Melbourne (LL.B., B.A.)
Tony Abbott 2013–2015 Saint Ignatius' College Riverview (Sydney)
St Aloysius' College (Sydney)
University of Sydney (B.Ec., B.A.)
The Queen's College, Oxford (M.A.*)
Malcolm Turnbull 2015–2018 Sydney Grammar School
Vaucluse Public School (Sydney)
University of Sydney (B.A., LL.B.)
Brasenose College, Oxford (B.C.L.)
Scott Morrison 2018– Sydney Boys High School
Bronte Public School (Sydney)
University of New South Wales (B.Sc.)

See also[edit]


  • Michelle Grattan (2000). Australian Prime Ministers. New Holland. ISBN 1-86436-671-0.