William John McKell: boilermaker, Premier, Governor-General

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


"William McKell, the long-serving Labor premier of New South Wales (1941-47), was described by Neville Wran as 'perhaps the most significant political figure in the history of NSW'. He played a central role in creating the modern Labor Party, and his efforts to mould the party into a pragmatic, electorally successful political machine have had an enduring influence." "McKell's long and influential career in public life began after the momentous 1916 split in the ALP, when he became the youngest member of state parliament after the ensuing election. Before he turned thirty he was a government minister and, after winning the party leadership in 1939, he led Labor to victory in 1941. As wartime premier McKell balanced the needs of the war economy with a practical program of social reform. After six years as premier he made the controversial decision to accept Prime Minister Chifley's invitation to become governor-general, a post he filled until 1953.". "In this first full-length biography of William McKell in nearly thirty years, Christopher Cunneen provides a vivid portrait of the development of this important and in some ways enigmatic Labor figure, and an insight into New South Wales politics during a key period in twentieth century history."
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSydney
PublisherUniversity of New South Wales Press
Number of pages271
ISBN (Print)0868405876
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • McKell, William, Sir, 1891-1985
  • Australian Labor Party--History
  • Governors general--Australia--Biography
  • Premiers--New South Wales--Biography
  • Australia--Politics and government


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