Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer


Letter to Miss Luben, from Elizabeth Chifley, dated 30 July 1951


Letter to Miss Luben, from Elizabeth Chifley, dated 30 July 1951

Object information

Physical description

Letter written in green on a folded piece of white paper, which has the Australian coat-of-arms, and "10 BUSBY ST., / BATHURST, printed in black at the top. The letter is dated "30th July 1951" and it is addressed to Miss Luben, from Elizabeth Chifley. It begins "I hope you / will like...".

Statement of significance

The Irene Kopievsky Ben Chifley Tie collection consists of a blue neck tie which once belonged to Ben Chifley, a letter from his widow Elizabeth Chifley, and a petrol ration ticket.

Joseph Benedict Chifley was Australia's sixteenth Prime Minister, serving in that role from 1945 to 1949. The son of a Bathurst blacksmith, Chifley became a locomotive driver in the NSW Railways and a prominent union supporter. A member of the Australian Labor Party, he was first elected to Federal Parliament in 1928 (serving till 1933) and re-entered parliament in 1940. Chifley was Treasurer during the war years of the Curtin Government, and was also Minister for Post-War Reconstruction. Soon after Curtin's death in 1945, Chifley became PM and won the 1946 election. Chifley worked to improve Australia's welfare system and inaugurated many post-war developments, such as the Snowy Scheme, the huge immigration intake of the late 1940s, the construction of an Australian car (the Holden), Trans Australia Airlines, and Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement and other changes, including a shift in power from the states to the Commonwealth Government. Following Chifley's sudden death in Canberra, his funeral procession in Bathurst was watched by 30,000 people. Chifley was the author of the famous 'Light on the Hill' speech which exhorted Australians to help the less fortunate in society.

Object information

Back to top