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Joseph Lyons
Joseph Lyons.jpg
10th Prime Minister of Australia
In office
6 January 1932 – 7 April 1939
Preceded by James Scullin
Succeeded by Earle Page
26th Premier of Tasmania
In office
25 October 1923 – 15 June 1928
Preceded by Sir Walter Lee
Succeeded by John McPhee
Personal details
Born (1879-09-15)September 15, 1879
Died 7 April 1939(1939-04-07) (aged 59)
Political party United Australia Party
Other political
Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Enid Lyons

Joseph Aloysius Lyons (15 September 1879 – 7 April 1939) was the tenth Prime Minister of Australia, serving from January 1932 until his death. He had earlier served as Premier of Tasmania from 1923 to 1928, and was the first, and to date only, prime minister from Tasmania.

Lyons was born in Stanley, Tasmania, and was a schoolteacher and trade unionist before entering politics. He was elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly in 1909, representing the Labor Party, and became a government minister in 1914, under John Earle. Lyons was elected party leader after the Labor government's defeat at the 1916 state election.

He became premier in October 1923, and served until being defeated at the 1928 state election. He afterward entered federal politics.

Elected to the Division of Wilmot at the 1929 federal election, Lyons was immediately made a minister in the new government formed by James Scullin. However, he resigned from cabinet in January 1931 over a policy dispute, and two months later left the party altogether.

He and several other Labor defectors helped to form the new United Australia Party (UAP), which elected Lyons as its leader. The UAP won government at the 1931 federal election, and was re-elected in 1934 and 1937. Lyons died of a heart attack in April 1939, becoming the first prime minister to die in office. His widow, Enid Lyons, later became the first woman elected to the House of Representatives.

Lyons was one of the most genuinely popular men to hold the office of prime minister, and his death caused widespread grief. His laid-back appearance often led to his portrayal in cartoons as a sleepy koala. A devout Catholic, he was the second Catholic to become prime minister and the only non-Labor Catholic prime minister until Tony Abbott.

He died on the 7 April 1939. Lyons' body was transported to his home town of Devonport aboard HMAS Vendetta. His funeral was held at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes on 13 April, and he was buried in the church grounds. He was re-interred in the new Mersey Vale Memorial Park in 1969, where he was joined by his wife in 1981.

In 1984, Lyons' old seat of Wilmot was renamed the Division of Lyons jointly in honour of Lyons and his widow Dame Enid Lyons. The state seat of Wilmot was also renamed Lyons for the same reason. The Canberra suburb of Lyons, Australian Capital Territory is named in honour of Joseph Lyons. In 1975, he was honoured on a postage stamp bearing his portrait issued by Australia Post.

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