National Library of Australia

The National Library building is closed temporarily until further notice, in line with ACT Government COVID-19 health restrictions.
Find out more

You must be logged in to Tag Records
Papers of William McMahon, 1949-1987 [manuscript]
Bib ID 532896
Format ManuscriptManuscript
McMahon, William, 1908-1988
Access Conditions Part available for research; part not available for research. Not for loan. 
Description [1949-1987] 
approximately 100.0 m. (612 boxes) + 1 fol. box. 

MS 3926 comprises correspondence, telegrams, minutes, reports, Cabinet papers, speeches, press statements, transcripts of television and radio interviews, photographs, conference proceedings and records relating to William McMahon's time in parliament, including his later years as a backbencher. Includes extensive material on the Liberal Party, federal elections and the electorate of Lowe. Most of the official papers date from 1958-1972. Personal correspondence consists largely of congratulatory notes received following electoral successes, his engagement and marriage and the birth of his children. The collection also includes a large series of newspaper cuttings, press statements and printed items (612 boxes, 1 fol. box).


Solicitor and prime minister. William (Billy) McMahon was Liberal Member of the House of Representatives for Lowe, Sydney, from 1949 until 1982. His portfolios included Minister for the Navy and Minister for Air, 1951-1954, Minister for Labour and National Service, 1958-1966, and, Minister for External (Foreign) Affairs, 1969-1971. In 1966, McMahon succeeded Harold Holt as treasurer and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party. In March 1971 McMahon was elected Prime Minister, however he lost the December 1972 election to Labor's Gough Whitlam. After the 1974 election, also won by Whitlam, McMahon was dropped from the Shadow Cabinet. On 11 November 1975 Governor-General Sir John Kerr revoked Whitlam's commission and installed Malcolm Fraser as caretaker prime minister. McMahon stayed in parliament as a backbencher in Fraser's government from 1975 to 1982 when he retired from politics. He was appointed KCMG in 1977. McMahon died in Sydney in 1988.


Manuscript reference no.: MS 3926.

Digital master available National Library of Australia;

Cited In

Guide to collections of manuscripts relating to Australia, E374.

Index/Finding Aid Note Finding aid (85 p.) available in the Special Collections Reading Room. 
Subjects McMahon, William, 1908-1988 -- Archives.  |  Liberal Party of Australia -- Officials and employees -- Archives.  |  Politicians -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Prime ministers -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Australia -- Politics and government -- 1945-
Time Coverage 1949-1987 
Occupation Lawyers.  |  Federal politicians.  |  Prime ministers.
Other authors/contributors Liberal Party of Australia
Terms of Use Copying of William McMahon's copyright material permitted for research purposes. 


    In the Library

    Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video Help Video.

    Details Collect From
    MS 3926 Special Collections Reading Room
    Access details ... more

    Order a copy

    - Copyright or permission restrictions may apply. We will contact you if necessary.

    Help Video To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video Help Video.
    close Can I borrow items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close What can I get online?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close Can I get copies of items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags
    Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other First Nations people are advised that this catalogue contains names, recordings and images of deceased people and other content that may be culturally sensitive. Please also be aware that you may see certain words or descriptions in this catalogue which reflect the author’s attitude or that of the period in which the item was created and may now be considered offensive.