Chris Watson facts for kids

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John Chris Watson
ChrisWatsonSepia.jpg
3rd Prime Minister of Australia
In office
27 April 1904 – 18 August 1904
Preceded by Alfred Deakin
Succeeded by George Reid
Constituency Bland (New South Wales)
Personal details
Born c. (1867-04-09)9 April 1867
Valparaiso, Chile
Died 18 November 1941(1941-11-18) (aged 74)
Political party Labor

John Christian Watson (born John Christian Tanck; 9 April 1867 – 18 November 1941), commonly known as Chris Watson, was an Australian politician who served as the third Prime Minister of Australia. He was the first Prime Minister from the Australian Labour Party, and led the world's first Labour Party government, indeed the world's first socialist or social democratic government, at a national level. From paternal German and maternal British ancestry, he is the only Australian Prime Minister not born in a Commonwealth country.

Watson's term as Prime Minister was brief – only four months, between 27 April and 18 August 1904. The Watson Government did pass a handful of bills, but more importantly it set the precedent of a Labour Party Prime Minister. He resigned as Labour leader in 1907 and from Parliament in 1910.

According to Percival Serle, Watson "left a much greater impression on his time than this would suggest. He came at the right moment for his party, and nothing could have done it more good than the sincerity, courtesy and moderation which he always showed as a leader". Alfred Deakin wrote of Watson: "The Labour section has much cause for gratitude to Mr Watson, the leader whose tact and judgement have enabled it to achieve many of its Parliamentary successes".

Later life

Out of the Parliamentary arena, Watson continued to work for Labor, becoming Director of Labor Papers Ltd, publishers of The Worker, the Australian Workers' Union paper. He also pursued a business career and was also a parliamentary lobbyist.

Watson devoted the rest of his life to business. He helped found the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA) and remained its chairman until his death. He was also a founder of the Australian Motorists Petrol Co Ltd (Ampol). His wife Ada died in 1921.

On 30 October 1925 Watson married Antonia Mary Gladys Dowlan in the same church as his first wedding. She was a 23-year-old waitress from Western Australia whom he had met when she served his table at a Sydney club. In 1927, they had one daughter, Jacqueline Dunn née Watson.

Watson died on 18 November 1941 at his home in the Sydney suburb of Double Bay.

Honours

In April 2004 the Labor Party marked the centenary of the Watson Government with a series of public events in Canberra and Melbourne, attended by then party leader Mark Latham and former ALP Prime Ministers Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. The Canberra suburb Watson and the federal electorate of Watson are named after him. In 1969 he was honoured on a postage stamp bearing his portrait issued by Australia Post.

Prime Ministers of Australia Flag of Australia.svg
Barton | Deakin | Watson | Reid | Fisher | Cook | Hughes | Bruce | Scullin | Lyons | Page | Menzies | Fadden | Curtin | Forde | Chifley | Holt | McEwen | Gorton | McMahon | Whitlam | Fraser | Hawke | Keating | Howard | Rudd | Gillard | Abbott | Turnbull


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