Youngest And Oldest Prime Ministers

This table shows Australia’s 29 prime ministers listed in order of their age upon taking office.

Most prime ministers – 17 out of 29 (58.6%) – took office in their 50s. Three were in their 60s. Another seven were in their 40s, whilst two PMs were in their 30s.

Sir John McEwen (Country Party) was the oldest of all new PMs to assume the position, taking office at the age of 67 years. He served for three weeks. Chris Watson (ALP) was the youngest PM, taking office at the age of 37 years. He served for four months.

Whilst McEwen, William McMahon and Malcolm Turnbull all took office in their 60s, none were the result of an election. McEwen was a stop-gap PM after Holt disappeared, whilst McMahon and Turnbull overthrew their predecessors.

In addition to McEwen, McMahon and Turnbull, who took office in their 60s, another seven were in their 60s when they left office: Reid, Hughes, Curtin, Chifley, Hawke and Howard.

Sir Robert Menzies became prime minister for the first time when he was 44, following the death of Joseph Lyons. He started his long second term on December 19, 1949, the day before he turned 55. He went on to win four elections in his 60s. Retiring at the age of 72 in 1966, he is the oldest PM to have ever held the office.

The second-oldest prime minister was John Howard, who was 68 when he left office in 2007.

Four prime ministers (Deakin, Fisher, Menzies and Rudd) have served non-consecutive terms. In the table below, they are listed according to their first term in office.


Ages of Australian Prime Ministers On Taking Office For The First Time
No. Name Party Age On Becoming PM Term of office
1.
John McEwen Country Party
67 years, 8 months, 20 days
19.12.1967 – 10.01.1968
2.
William McMahon Liberal Party
63 years, 15 days
10.03.1971 – 05.12.1972
3.
Malcolm Turnbull Liberal Party
60 years, 10 months, 22 days
15.09.2015 –
4.
Ben Chifley ALP
59 years, 9 months, 21 days
13.07.1945 – 19.12.1949
5.
George Reid Free Trade
59 years, 5 months, 24 days
18.08.1904 – 05.07.1905
6.
Earle Page Country Party
58 years, 7 months, 30 days
07.04.1939 – 26.04.1939
7.
Harold Holt Liberal Party
57 years, 5 months, 21 days
26.01.1966 – 19.12.1967
8.
John Curtin ALP
56 years, 8 months, 29 days
07.10.1941 – 05.07.1945
9.
John Howard Liberal Party
56 years, 7 months, 14 days
11.03.1996 – 03.12.2007
10.
Gough Whitlam ALP
56 years, 4 months, 25 days
05.12.1972 – 11.11.1975
11.
John Gorton Liberal Party
56 years, 4 months, 1 day
10.01.1968 – 10.03.1971
12.
Tony Abbott Liberal Party
55 years, 10 months, 14 days
18.09.2013 – 15.09.2015
13.
Frank Forde ALP
54 years, 11 months, 18 days
06.07.1945 – 13.07.1945
14.
Bob Hawke ALP
53 years, 3 months, 2 days
11.03.1983 – 20.12.1991
15.
James Scullin ALP
53 years, 1 month, 4 days
22.10.1929 – 06.01.1932
16.
W.M. (Billy) Hughes ALP/Nationalist Party
53 years, 1 month, 2 days
27.10.1915 – 09.02.1923
17.
Joseph Cook Liberal Party
52 years, 6 months, 17 days
24.06.1913 – 17.09.2014
18.
Joseph Lyons United Australia Party (UAP)
52 years, 3 months, 21 days
06.01.1932 – 07.04.1939
19.
Edmund Barton Protectionist
51 years, 11 months, 14 days
01.01.1901 – 24.09.1903
20.
Kevin Rudd ALP
50 years, 2 months, 12 days
03.12.2007 – 24.06.2010
21.
Julia Gillard ALP
48 years, 8 months, 25 days
24.06.2010 – 27.06.2013
22.
Paul Keating ALP
47 years, 11 months, 2 days
20.12.1991 – 11.03.1996
23.
Alfred Deakin Protectionist/Liberal Party
47 years, 1 month, 21 days
24.09.1903 – 27.04.1904
24.
Arthur Fadden Country Party
46 years, 4 months, 16 days
29.08.1941 – 07.10.1941
25.
Andrew Fisher ALP
46 years, 2 months, 15 days
13.11.1908 – 02.06.1909
26.
Malcolm Fraser Liberal Party
45 years, 5 months, 21 days
11.11.1975 – 11.03.1983
27.
Sir Robert Menzies UAP/Liberal Party
44 years, 4 months, 6 days
26.04.1939 – 29.08.1941
28.
Stanley Bruce Nationalist Party
39 years, 9 months, 24 days
09.02.1923 – 22.10.1929
29.
John Christian Watson ALP
37 years, 18 days
27.04.1904 – 17.08.1904

 

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