Joseph Aloysius Lyons – Fact sheet 76
Prime Minister of Australia 1932–39
A former Labor Premier of Tasmania (1916–19 and 1923–28) Joseph Lyons entered federal parliament in the 1929 elections, becoming Postmaster-General in the Scullin Government that was swept to power by that poll. Labor had not been in power federally since 1917, and it was only Lyons and former Queensland Premier ‘Ted’ Theodore who brought ministerial experience to the new government.
Resigning from the Government and the Labor Party in 1931, Lyons and a small group of supporters joined with the John Latham-led Nationalists to form the United Australia Party (UAP). Lyons became leader of the UAP, and subsequently Prime Minister and Treasurer when the Party won the election held in December 1931. A coalition formed with the Country Party in 1934 kept Lyons as Prime Minister, although he handed the Treasury portfolio to Richard Gardiner Casey the following year. Through a mixture of caution and sound financial management the Lyons government led Australia out of the depths of the Great Depression.
During his time in office, Lyons also covered the portfolios of Commerce (1932), Health (1935–36), Repatriation (1935–36) and Defence (1937). Joseph Lyons died in office on 7 April 1939.
Research guide - Joseph Lyons: Guide to the Archives of Australia’s Prime Ministers
Records relating to Joseph Lyons held by the National Archives
The National Archives holds a collection of Lyons’ personal records, and many records about Lyons and the issues he was involved in during his years in government. Lyons’ personal records, and a selection of records about him, are listed below.
In the tables below, reference numbers direct you to the item or series in RecordSearch, the Archives database. There you can find more information. In many cases you can view entire digitised records. The information will appear in a new browser window.
Personal records of Joseph Lyons
|Title or description of record||Date range||Series number|
|Correspondence of Lyons as Prime Minister||1920–56||CP30/3|
|Correspondence of Lyons as United Australia Party Leader and Federal Opposition Leader||1922–56||CP30/2|
|Personal correspondence of Lyons as Prime Minister and as United Australia Party leader||1931–39||M2270|
|Correspondence of Lyons as Postmaster-General||1931||CP30/1|
|Correspondence series – Lyons and Menzies||1931–39||CP167/2|
|Representations regarding employment||1931–39||CP167/3|
|Cables to and from Lyons during his visit to London||1935–38||CP290/5|
|Letters between King George VI and Lyons, regarding the presentation to HM of an oil painting of the coronation||1938||CP144/1|