1952 – Menzies government

Members of the 1952 Cabinet
The fifth Menzies Ministry in February 1952 at Government House, Canberra. (NAA: A1200, CU1621/1)

The 1952 notebooks

Seven Cabinet notebooks record material from meetings held in 1952. Notebook 30 records material from meetings held in 1952 and 1953. Allen Brown and John Bunting at times recorded notes at the same meeting. Thus notes about a particular meeting may be recorded in two separate notebooks.

Digitised copies of the original Cabinet notebooks can be viewed online in our collection database RecordSearch. The links in the table below will take you to the item description page in RecordSearch for each notebook. Once in RecordSearch, click on the ‘View digital copy’ icon to browse the notebook.

Submissions, decisions and other records


Cabinet considered more than 170 submissions in 1952. These submissions include the papers that were circulated to all Cabinet ministers prior to meetings and which were considered and discussed within Federal Cabinet and Committees of Cabinet during 1952. The submissions and associated decisions for the fifth Menzies ministry are held in series A4905.


Cabinet made more than 330 decisions without submission in 1952. Decisions without submission for the fifth Menzies ministry are held in series A4909.

Cabinet committee papers

Various Cabinet Committees considered more routine matters. This relieved Cabinet of business of lesser importance and assisted Cabinet to make decisions more expeditiously. Cabinet Committee papers from 1952 are not incorporated into the sequence of records of the full Cabinet as occurs later. Rather they are held separately in series A4933.

Cabinet Secretariat files

Files created by the Cabinet Secretariat, known as ‘C’ files, are also available for access. These files contain the original submissions, briefing papers, decisions, background papers such as departmental advice, and exchanges between officials and Ministers not included in the formal Cabinet papers. Records for 1952 can be found within series A4940.

Fifth Menzies Ministry

 After the election on 28 April 1951, Robert Menzies secured a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The fifth Menzies ministry was in place from 11 May 1951.

In 1952 the Cabinet consisted of the following Ministers.

MENZIES, The Right Hon. Robert GordonPrime Minister
FADDEN, The Right Hon. ArthurTreasurer
HARRISON, The Hon. Eric JohnVice-President of Executive Council
Minister for Defence Production
HOLT, The Hon. HaroldMinister for Labor and National Service
Minister for Immigration
McEWEN, The Hon. JohnMinister for Commerce and Agriculture
CASEY, The Right Hon. Richard GardinerMinister for External Affairs
Minister in charge of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research
McBRIDE, The Hon. Philip AlbertMinister for Defence
McMAHON, The Hon. WilliamMinister for the Navy
Minister for Air
PAGE, The Right Hon. Earle Christmas GraftonMinister for Health
O’SULLIVAN, The Hon. NeilMinister for Trade and Customs
McLEAY, The Hon. GeorgeMinister for Shipping and Transport
ANTHONY, The Hon. Hubert LawrencePostmaster-General
Minister for Civil Aviation
FRANCIS, The Hon. JosiahMinister for the Army
SPICER, The Hon. John ArmstrongAttorney-General
SPOONER, The Hon. William HenryMinister for National Development
COOPER, The Hon. Walter JacksonMinister for Repatriation
BEALE, The Hon. Oliver HowardMinister for Supply
KENT HUGHES, The Hon. Wilfred SelwynMinister for the Interior
Minister for Works and Housing (to 4 June 1952)
Minister for Works (from 4 June 1952)
TOWNLEY, The Hon. Athol GordonMinister for Social Services
HASLUCK, The Hon. Paul MeernaaMinister for Territories

Read about the events and issues that made the news in 1952.

Cabinet notebooks 1952

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019