Francis Michael Forde – Fact sheet 81

Francis Michael Forde (NAA: M4267, 10)

Prime Minister of Australia 6–13 July 1945

Before his election to the Queensland state parliament in 1917 as the Member for Rockhampton, Francis Michael Forde was a schoolteacher and an electrical engineer. He became the federal Member for Capricornia in 1922 and held this seat for the Australian Labor Party (ALP) until 1946.

Forde was appointed as an honorary minister in the Labor government of James Scullin (1929–31), assisting the Minister for Trade and Customs, until February 1931 when he was appointed to that portfolio. In 1932 he was elected Deputy Leader of the ALP, a position he held until 1946. In this role he served as Deputy Leader of the Opposition from 1932 to 1941, and then Deputy Prime Minister until 1946.

When John Curtin became Prime Minister in October 1941, Forde was appointed Minister for the Army – a critical portfolio with Japan's entry into World War II. Between 1941 and 1946, Forde acted as Prime Minister on several occasions in Curtin's absence. He became Prime Minister from 6 to 13 July 1945, following the death of John Curtin. Forde contested the ALP leadership, but was defeated by Ben Chifley who became Prime Minister on 13 July.

Forde remained as Deputy Prime Minister to Chifley and Minister for the Army until November 1946. He also served as Minister for Defence between August and November 1946.

Frank Forde lost his seat in parliament in the 1946 general election and was later appointed as the Australian High Commissioner to Canada. He later served a single term in the Queensland state parliament during the 1950s.

Records relating to Francis Forde held by the National Archives

The National Archives holds many records relating to Francis Forde's years in parliament, including the brief period he spent as Prime Minister of Australia. Forde's 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 Francis Forde

Forde also contributed to the following personal record series of John Curtin during the period he acted as Prime Minister in 1944

Other records relating to Francis Forde – in Canberra

Other records relating to Francis Forde – in Sydney

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesFilm of visit of Deputy PM Forde to UN Conference1945SP1202/2
ItemForde, Rt Hon. FM (audio tape)1966C102, POL103

Other records relating to Francis Forde – in Melbourne

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
ItemOther records relating to Francis Forde1944–50MP742/1, 217/1/9
Item[Letter from Ninon P Haring to Mr Forde regarding the tracing of missing members of the 2/22nd Battalion AIF]1945MP742/1, 255/15/1203

Other records relating to Francis Forde – Australian War Memorial, Canberra

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