We were honoured to partner with the Victorian Labor History Foundation on Friday 8 November for the laying of a plaque in the Prime Ministers Garden within Melbourne General Cemetery for the late James Scullin. This special event was attended by a small gathering of the community including former Premier, the Hon Steve Bracks, former federal minister the Hon Professor Barry Jones and members of the Scullin family.
Scullin, was the 9th Prime Minister of Australia, winning his parliamentary victory in 1929 – 1932 and was the first Australian-born Labor Prime Minister as well as the first to come from a Catholic background. During his time as Prime Minister, Scullin played a role in economic reforms during the Great Depression as well as his establishment of the ABC. Scullin remained a leading figure in the Labor movement throughout his lifetime and played a significant role in securing the endorsement of future Labor leaders John Curtin and Ben Chifley, who went on to become successful Prime Ministers.
Although James Scullin is interred within Melbourne General Cemetery this plaque is the first reference to him within the Prime Ministers Garden as it was established in June 1996 and Scullin passed away prior to this in 1953. His plaque within the Prime Ministers Garden will now encourage more visitors to his grave within Melbourne General Cemetery is topped with a Celtic cross and has a wonderful inscription; ‘Justice and humanity demand interference when the weak are being crushed by the strong.’
Melbourne General Cemetery has more four graves of Prime Ministers, the most of any other cemetery in Australia. Three of these are within the Prime Ministers Garden; Sir Robert Menzies, Sir John Gorton, Malcolm Fraser and a symbolic memorial to Harold Holt, and James Scullin’s is within a Roman Catholic area along the main drive of the cemetery.