Sir Robert Gordon (Bob) Menzies (1894-1978), prime minister and barrister, was born on 20 December 1894 at Jeparit, Victoria, fourth of five children of Australian-born parents James Menzies who was a storekeeper, and his wife Kate.
Robert Gordon Menzies was Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister. He held the office twice, from 1939 to 1941 and from 1949 to 1966. Altogether he was Prime Minister for over 18 years – still the record term for an Australian Prime Minister.
Lacking lots of formal education themselves, Menzies parents were anxious that their children should have the best of thing that could be afforded. So the eldest four—Les, Frank, Belle and Bob—were sent in turn to Ballarat's Humffray Street State School. Bob did the best with in the family, topping the State scholarship examination in 1907, and studying in consequence for two years at Grenville College, a Ballarat private school. It opened the way to another scholarship, which Menzies took at Wesley College, Melbourne. A brilliant undergraduate career followed, with a galaxy of prizes.
During his early years in parliament, Robert was highly involved in international Nationalist Party matters. In 1920 he helped establish the ‘Young Nationalists’ a group that focus’ on attracting young men into politics. The head of the orginisation welcomed the idea and invited Menzie to join the central executive of the National Federation. Later on the Young Nationalists took over the State Nationalist Party orginisation. Robert then won the presidency of the Victorian National Federation in September 1931.
Robert Menzies was in office twice, from 1939 to 1941 and from 1949 to 1966. Despite seven successive federal election victories, Menzies’ second period as Prime Minister was not secure. In the 1954 and 1961 federal elections, the Labor Party received a greater proportion of first preference votes for House of Representatives seats (50.03 per cent in 1954)