1954 – Menzies government

Members of the 1954 Cabinet
Sir Robert Menzies, Athol Townley, Sir William Slim, Josiah Francis and William McMahon, Government House, Yarralumla, 1954. (NAA: A1200, L17396)

The 1954 notebooks

There are four notebooks that record material from Cabinet meetings held  in 1954. Notebook 17 records material from meetings held in 1953 and 1954 and notebook 20 records material from meetings held in 1954 and 1955.

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

Submissions

Cabinet submissions recorded by the Menzies ministry are held in series A4905 and A4906. In July 1954 when Prime Minister Menzies reformed the Cabinet system and reduced the number of standing Cabinet committees, the Cabinet Secretariat also made changes to its recordkeeping procedures. This date marks the end of what is referred to as the first system used during the fifth Menzies ministry (A4905), and the beginning of what is referred to as the second system (A4906).

Cabinet considered approximately 330 submissions during 1954. Relevant submissions can be identified by conducting a keyword search on our collection database RecordSearch using ‘A4905’ and ‘A4906’ as the reference numbers.

Decisions

Cabinet decisions made by the Menzies ministry are held in series A4909 and A4910. As above, in July 1954 when Prime Minister Menzies reformed the Cabinet system and reduced the number of standing Cabinet committees, the Cabinet Secretariat also made changes to its recordkeeping procedures. This date marks the end of what is referred to as the first system used during the 5th Menzies ministry (A4909), and the beginning of what is referred to as the second system (A4910).

Cabinet made approximately 360 decisions in 1954. Of these, approximately 80 were made without submission. Decisions made without submission can be identified by conducting a keyword search on our collection database RecordSearch using ‘A4909’ or ‘A4910’ as the reference numbers. Decisions made on submissions can be identified attached to their related submission in series A4905 and A4906.

Cabinet committee papers

Papers of the Menzies ministry Cabinet committees are held in series A4933. Approximately 300 papers cover issues discussed by Cabinet committees in the first half of 1954. From July 1954, Cabinet committee records were largely included in the set of full Cabinet records (A4906).

Relevant files can be identified by conducting a keyword search on our collection database RecordSearch using ‘A4933’ or ‘A4906’ as the reference numbers.

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 until 11 January 1956.

In 1954 the Cabinet consisted of the following Ministers.

MinisterPosition
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 Labour and National Service
Minister for Immigration
McEWEN, The Hon. JohnMinister for Commerce and Agriculture
CASEY, The Right Hon. Richard GardinerMinister for External Affairs
McBRIDE, The Hon. Philip AlbertMinister for Defence
McMAHON, The Hon. WilliamMinister for the Navy
Minister for Air (to 9 July 1954)
Minister for Social Services (from 9 July 1954)
FRANCIS, The Hon. JosiahMinister for the Army
Minister for the Navy (from 9 July 1954)
TOWNLEY, The Hon. Athol GordonMinister for Social Services (to 9 July 1954)
Minister for Air
Minister for Civil Aviation (from 9 July 1954)
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 (to 9 July 1954)
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
TOWNLEY, The Hon. Athol GordonMinister for Social Services (to 9 July 1954)
HASLUCK, The Hon. Paul MeernaaMinister for Territories
 

Cabinet notebooks 1954

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017