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Chris Watson

Chris Watson

About Chris Watson:

John Christian Watson, the first prime minister from the Australian Labour Party, was sworn in as the third Prime Minister of Australia on 27 April 1904. He held office for a brief period of four months.

Chris Watson as Prime Minister:

Though it was a short-lived government, six bills were enacted during Watson's tenure as a Prime Minister. Conciliation and Arbitration Bill put forward during his time got eventually passed by the Reid Government. Watson Australia’s youngest Prime Minister took the Treasury portfolio and assigned External Affairs to WM Hughes, Home Affairs to Egerton Batchelor, Trade and Customs to Andrew Fisher, Defense to Anderson Dawson and Postmaster-General to Hugh Mahon.

Later he resigned the Labour leadership to take proper care of his sick wife. His decision favoured Andrew Fisher. He left politics quite early at the age of 42. This Chilean Australian politician is considered as the founder and one among the main shapers of the Australian Labor Party.

Early life, Education and Politics:

Chris Watson was born to Johan Christian Tanck and his wife Martha, née Minchin on 9 April 1867 at Valparaiso, Chile. He left his school at Cave Valley to join as nipper on railway construction works. At the age of 13 was employed at the North Otago Times as an apprentice. Later he worked at the Daily Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald. In 1888 he shifted to the Australian Star, a protectionist paper.

Chris Watson was selected as the Vice-President of the Sydney Trades and Labour Council (TLC) in 1892. As he solved a dispute between the TLC and the Labor Party, he became president of the TLC as well as the chairman of the party. In 1894 he successfully contested for the country seat of Young.

Personal Life:

Chris Watson married an English-born Ada Jane Low, on 27 November 1889 in the Unitarian Church, Liverpool Street, Sydney. He had a daughter Jacqueline, in his second marriage to Antonia Watson.

John Christian Watson died on 18 November 1941 at the age of 74 in his home in Double Bay, Sydney. His body was cremated at North Sydney Crematorium.

He was a member of Typographers Union, Oamaru; New Zealand Land League; Typographical Association of NSW and Land Nationalisation Society NSW.


Australia Post honored him with a postage stamp bearing his portrait in 1969. The Labor Party organized a series of public events in Canberra and Melbourne to celebrate the centenary of the Watson Government in April 2004.


3rd Prime Minister of Australia
In office 27 April 1904– 18 August 1904
Monarch Edward VII
Governor General Lord Northcote
Preceded by Alfred Deakin
Succeeded by George Reid
Member of the Australian Parliament for South Sydney
In office 8 November, 1906– 13 April, 1910
Preceded by George Edwards
Succeeded by Edward Riley
Personal details
Born John Christian Tanck c. 9 April 1867 Valparaso, Chile
Died 18 November 1941 (aged 74) Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Political party Australian Labour Party
Spouse(s) Ada Watson
Religion Unitarianism

Types Of Visas

Immigration Info

Australian History

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