Bob Heffron

Bob Heffron

Australian Politician and Premier of New South Wales
Born Sep 10, 1890

Robert James "Bob" Heffron was one of the longest-serving New South Wales state parliamentarians. He was the Australian Labor Party Premier of New South Wales from 28 October 1959, to 30 April 1964.

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Bob Heffron.


1890 Birth "Bob" Heffron (as he was widely known) was born on 10 September 1890 in Thames, New Zealand, the fifth child of Irish-born parents Michael Heffron, a blacksmith, and Ellen Heath. … Read More


1912 21 Years Old 1 More Event
At 19, he went to California to work and to the Yukon in Canada to look for gold; when this proved unsuccessful he returned to New Zealand in 1912.
1917 26 Years Old 1 More Event
His elder brother, William Thomas Heffron, enlisted as a Private on 3 October 1917 and was killed in action a few days before the armistice on 4 November 1918, while serving with the 1st Battalion, Auckland Infantry Regiment.


1921 30 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1921, the Heffrons moved to Melbourne, Victoria. … Read More
1923 - 1924 2 More Events
1927 36 Years Old Having confirmed his Lang credentials, Heffron stood as the endorsed Labor party candidate for the seat of Botany at the 1927 election, which was held by Thomas Mutch, who had split from party after a stoush with Lang and stood as an 'Independent Labor' candidate after being denied preselection. … Read More
1930 39 Years Old 1 More Event
…  Being a prominent unionist organiser, having been gaoled at one stage for "conspiracy to strike action", he was eventually elected to the Parliament of New South Wales for Botany in 1930. … Read More


1932 41 Years Old 1 More Event
While his support for Lang had enabled Heffron to accelerate his political career, he found himself increasingly unhappy with Lang's autocratic and divisive political style, which had been amplified by the Great Depression, the expulsion of the NSW branch of the Labor Party from the federal branch and the ultimate dismissal of Lang's government in 1932 by Governor Sir Philip Game.
1936 45 Years Old When Labor Council Secretary Robert King organised a conference of dissident left-wing unions on 1 August 1936, which was attended by Heffron and three other caucus members, Lang summoned a special party conference on 22 August which expelled Heffron, King and all the other leaders who attended the conference. … Read More
1939 48 Years Old 1 More Event
As a result of its success, John Curtin and the federal executive of the ALP pressured the NSW ALP to readmit Heffron and his party at a unity conference at the Majestic Theatre in Newtown on 26 August 1939.


The success of his party enabled his readmission to the party and his prominence in a post-Lang NSW Branch which won office in 1941. … Read More
1942 - 1945 3 More Events
1946 55 Years Old 1 More Event
Throughout his period in the cabinet, Heffron was seen as a prominent and well-performing member of the government, and as such a potential contender for the premiership. The first opportunity for Heffron came in February 1946, when McKell announced to the Labor caucus of his intention to resign before the 1947 election. … Read More
1949 58 Years Old With the establishment of this institution receiving opposition by some areas in the media and conservatives, Heffron came to its defence in an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 4 May 1949, noting: "I feel that this new institution should be given time to prove its worth through the quality and work of its graduates". … Read More
1950 59 Years Old In 1950 Heffron's seat of Botany was abolished and largely replaced by Maroubra, which he was subsequently elected to and would hold until his retirement in 1968. … Read More


In May 1951, Heffron indicated his support for the establishment of a satellite college of Sydney University in Newcastle as an initial step towards the establishment of a full university. … Read More
1952 - 1957 4 More Events
1959 68 Years Old 1 More Event
Heffron's role as deputy became of prime importance when Cahill died suddenly in October 1959, and the 68-year-old Heffron was elected to succeed him unopposed.
In January 1960 Heffron provided his old friend H. V. Evatt a dignified exit from federal politics by nominating him to succeed Sir Kenneth Street as Chief Justice of New South Wales.
1961 70 Years Old In January 1961, Heffron announced the date of the referendum for 29 April 1961 and affirmed that it would be a simple yes/no question and would not include "alternative proposals such as retaining the Upper House on an elective basis". … Read More
At the 1962 election Heffron, despite the damage to prestige represented by the failed referendum, put forward new policies including the establishment of a Department of Industrial Development to reduce unemployment, free school travel, aid to home buyers and commencing the construction of the Sydney–Newcastle Freeway as a toll-road. … Read More
1964 73 Years Old 1 More Event
Heffron, humiliated and tired after several decades in ministerial office, resigned as Premier six months later on 30 April 1964 at the age of 73. … Read More
1965 - 1968 2 More Events
1978 87 Years Old 1 More Event
In Heffron's condolence motion in the Legislative Assembly on 15 August 1978, Wran reflected on Heffron's achievements: … Read More
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