Prime Minister Andrew Fisher was one of Australia’s great nation-builders, yet his story is largely unknown. He left school early to work in the coalmines of Scotland, educating himself at night. In 1885, at the age of 22, he immigrated to Queensland. There Fisher committed himself to politics and was soon elected to the Queensland parliament, then to the first federal parliament. In 1908 he became prime minister for the first of three stints in the job.
As prime minister, Fisher launched a massive nation-building program, which included the establishment of the national capital, the Commonwealth Bank, old-age pensions, and a transcontinental railway line. His most pressing concern was to populate and defend the new nation. To this end he famously pledged to back Britain in the Great War to the last man and the last shilling - a commitment that came at the heavy cost of Gallipoli and the Western Front.
In this authoritative and immensely readable biography, David Day reveals the man, his politics and his remarkable legacy.