Sir Robert Menzies

Posted in 1963

  • Order of Knight  of the ThistleMarch: The Queen confers on Menzies -

"the 'Most Noble Order of the Thistle', as a personal honour in recognition of his services to the Queen and to Australia. This knighthood, of Scottish origin in 1687 and second only to the Order of the Garter in the hierarchy of British honours, was in the gift only of the reigning monarch, who was herself Sovereign of the Order, which in turn was limited to sixteen members. It was the highest Order of knighthood to which an Australian had so far been admitted."

"Even the Sydney Morning Herald, in a generous editorial ... accepted the honour as something which as much dignified Australia as her Prime Minister. '... no one could begrudge the fact that this same man was 'now a proud Knight of the Thistle, quietly rejoicing, no doubt, in the motto of the Order, "No one provokes me with impunity"'.
A W Martin, Robert Menzies A Life Vol 2 1944-1978, 1999 p 456.

  • Sir Robert Menzies with Dame Pattie and their grandchildren, Diana, Robert, Alec and LindsayOn the hustings 1960s style:


"The Opposition Leader said, 'You haven't got one.' Now I'll give you the answer to this story.
The only time our opponents ever took any interest in this matter they used to say, 'Well, you know, you must have an airforce, that's the thing that's important. We must have the best aircraft in the world.'

Now, what's the position? What is the position?
My dear boy, you're not off the drawing board yourself!
(Much laughter)
I can tell that by looking at you.
Why, you're not even a prototype yet, this chap.

Now let's talk about the airforce."

  • Menzies government is returned at the election on 30 November with a majority of 22 seats. This is the last of seven elections Menzies won in a row before his retirement in 1966.
  • Delivers the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Oration at Monticello, a national shrine. Menzies is the first non-American to do so.
  • Order of the Thistle induction procession, St Giles Cathedral, EdinburghInducted into the Order of the Thistle at St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, the only Australian appointed to the Order, an honour in the gift of the reigning monarch.


Australian Events

Posted in 1963

  • Second Royal Tour of Australia by Queen Elizabeth II to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of Canberra: Prime Minister Menzies after saying that the British monarchy was the most democratic in the world, spoke about Australian affection as an expression of that and quoted the lines: I did but see her passing by ... "Anachronistically and mindlessly, this one sentence is generally used to lampoon Menzies' attitude to the monarchy, as if this was the only thing he ever said on the subject."
    A W Martin, Robert Menzies A Life Vol 2 1944-1978, 1999 p 455.


There is no greater admirer of the Royal Family than the Prime Minister.

All I ask you to remember in this country of yours is that every man, woman and child who even sees you with a passing glimpse as you go by will remember it, remember it with joy, remember it - in the words of the old 17th century poet who wrote those famous words, "I did but see her passing by and yet I love her till I die." (applause)

Royal Tour 1963

  • Queen confers the Order of the Thistle on Menzies: Menzies held the view that it was improper for a Prime Minister to accept a knighthood while in office as he was aware that local knighthoods involved recommendations, through the Governor-General, which often involved a political element. "But now the Queen, without any Australian prompting, was asking him to accept an honour that depended on her initiative as well as being in her gift alone."
    A W Martin, Robert Menzies A Life Vol 2 1944-1978, 1999 p 456.
  • Sir John Eccles (Australia) shares the Nobel Prize with Alan Hodgkin (UK) and Andrew Huxley (UK) "for their discoveries concerning the ionic mechanisms involved in excitation and inhibition in the peripheral and central portions of the nerve cell membrane".
  • Nuclear test ban is signed by Australia.
  • Agreement is reached to establish the first US naval communications base in Australia at North West Cape, WA (opened in 1967).
  • Federal Government decides to buy the American F111 fighter-bomber for the RAAF.
  • Australian singer Frank Ifield topped the British pop charts with Confessin' (That I Love You), following hits such as I Remember You.

World Events

Posted in 1963

  • US President 1961-63 John F KennedyNovember 22: US President John F Kennedy is killed by an assassin's bullet in Dallas, Texas.
  • Agreement is reached to establish the first US naval communications base in Australia at North West Cape, WA (opened in 1967).
  • Race riots in the USA.
  • First woman in space: Valentina Tereshkova was the pilot of Russia's Vostok 7.
  • The Beatles pop group is at the height of popularity.
  • British Secretary of War John Profumo resigns after lying to parliament about his relationship with Christine Keeler who was also involved with a Soviet naval attaché. It was felt Profumo had compromised British security at the height of the Cold War.

Presidents of the United States