James Henry Scullin – Fact sheet 75
Prime Minister of Australia 1929–32
Active in trade union affairs and the Labor Party for most of his adult life, James Scullin served a term in the House of Representatives as Member for Corangamite (1910–13). Then in 1922 he returned to parliament in the seat of Yarra. He held this seat for the next 27 years. Leader of the Labor Party from 1928, James Scullin became Prime Minister following the defeat of the Bruce government in the 1929 election. While Prime Minister, he held the portfolios for external affairs, industry and the treasury.
Scullin's government was confronted by the worst years of the Great Depression, which denied him the economic climate in which to introduce the government's program. But it was also faced with internal party crises, including the need for the Treasurer, Edward ('Ted') Theodore to stand aside during 1930, and the damaging Lang Labor split. Losing the support of key parliamentarians – a group led by Joseph Lyons, who later joined the Nationalists in the United Australia Party, and the five Lang Labor members – brought down Scullin's government.
Scullin retained the Labor Party leadership after the defeat of his government in 1931, remaining as Leader of the Opposition until 1935. In that year he was replaced by John Curtin. Scullin did not seek a ministry in Curtin's wartime government, but was regarded as a valuable adviser to the Prime Minister.
James Scullin retired from parliament in 1949 and died in Melbourne in 1953.
Records relating to James Scullin held by the National Archives
The Archives holds one small series of records identified as having being accumulated by James Scullin. The Archives also holds many records that relate to Scullin, either during his period as Prime Minister, or his years as a senior backbench member of the Curtin government during World War II.
In the tables below, reference numbers are linked 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 James Scullin
|Title or description of record||Date range||Series number|
|Papers relating to the Short Wave Broadcasting Service and other matters||1942||AA1972/315|