William Morris "Billy" Hughes, (25 September 186228 October 1952), Australian politician, was the seventh Prime Minister of Australia, from 1915 to 1923.
Over the course of his 51-year federal parliamentary career (and an additional seven years prior to that in a colonial parliament), Hughes changed parties five times: from Labor (1901–16) to National Labor (1916–17) to Nationalist (1917–30) to Australian (1930–31) to United Australia (1931–44) to Liberal (1944–52). He was expelled from three parties, and represented four different electorates in two states.
Originally Prime Minister as leader of the Labor Party, his support of conscription led him, along with 24 other pro-conscription members, to form National Labor. National Labor merged with the Commonwealth Liberal Party to form the Nationalist Party. His prime ministership came to an end when the Nationalist party was forced to form a coalition with the Country Party, who refused to serve under Hughes. He was the longest-serving prime minister up to that point, and the fifth longest serving over all. He would later lead the United Australia Party to the 1943 election, though Arthur Fadden served as Coalition leader.
He died in 1952 at age 90, while still serving in Parliament. He is the longest-serving member of the Australian Parliament, and one of the most colourful and controversial figures in Australian political history.
William Morris Hughes was born in Pimlico, London, on 25 September 1862 to Welsh parents. His father William Hughes was Welsh-speaking and, according to the 1881 census, born in Holyhead, Anglesey, North Wales in about 1825. He was a deacon of the Particular Baptist Church and by profession a joiner and a carpenter at the House of Lords. His mother was a farmer's daughter from Llansantffraid, Montgomeryshire and had been in service in London. Jane Morris was thirty-seven when she married and William Morris Hughes was her only child.
After his mother's death when he was seven, William Hughes lived with his father's sister in Llandudno, Wales, also spending time with his mother's relatives in rural Montgomeryshire, where he also spoke Welsh. A plaque on a guest house in Abbey Road Llandudno bears testament to his residency. When he was 14 he returned to London and worked as a pupil teacher. In 1881, when he was 19, William lived with his father and an aunt at 78 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London.
In October 1884, at the age of 22, he emigrated to Australia, working as a labourer, bush worker and cook. He arrived in Sydney in 1886 and lived in a boarding house in Moore Park and established a common law marriage with his landlady's daughter, Elizabeth Cutts.〔(【引用サイトリンク】publisher=National Archives of Australia )〕 In 1890 they moved to Balmain, where he at first worked for Lewy Pattinson's pharmacy before he opened a small mixed shop, where he sold political pamphlets, did odd jobs and mended umbrellas. He joined the Socialist League in 1892 and became a street-corner speaker for the Balmain Single Tax League and an organiser with the Australian Workers' Union and may have already joined the newly formed Labor Party.〔
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