Anne Henderson: Joseph Lyons

A belated biography of a durable prime minister

David Day

 

Joseph Lyons: The People’s Prime Minister
by Anne Henderson
New South, $49.95 hb, 480 pp, 9781742231426

 

This book is long overdue. It is eighty years since affable Joseph Lyons, often depicted by cartoonists as a koala, was elected as Australia’s tenth prime minister. He would be re-elected twice before dying in office in April 1939. During his seven years as prime minister, Lyons had to grapple with the Depression, the decline of the British Empire, and the threat of Germany and Japan. Yet no historian until now has seen fit to give Lyons’s life the attention it so clearly deserves.

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