The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library
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The Downer Family

Alexander Downer [Image source: Downer Family Collection, UniSA Library]Alexander Downer was a member for the House of Representatives for the Liberal Party from 1984 - 2008. He was Australia's longest serving Foreign Minister, serving from 1996 - 2007. He also served as Leader of the Liberal Party from May 1994 to January 1995. In 2013 he was appointed a companion (AC) in the General Division of the Order of Australia recognizing his eminent service to parliament through the advancement of international relations and foreign policy, particularly in the areas of security, trade and humanitarian aid.

Sir Alick Downer was a Member for the House of Representatives for the Liberal Party from 1949 to 1963, serving as Minister for Immigration from 1958 to 1963. Sir Alexander and Lady Mary Downer [Image source: Downer Family Collection, UniSA Library] He then served as the Australian High Commissioner to London from 1963 - 1972. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire - Knights Commander (Civil) [KBE(C)] in 1965.

Sir John Downer was the Premier of South Australia from 1885 - 1887 and 1892- 1893. He moved into Federal politics as an inaugural Senator for South Australia in the First Parliament of Australia in 1901.  He later returned to State politics serving on the South Australian Legislative Council from 1905 - 1915.  He was awarded the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George - Knights Commander (KCMG) in 1887. The Canberra suburb of Downer was named after him in 1960.

Downer Family CollectionSir John Downer [Image source: Downer Family Collection, UniSA Library]

The purpose of this collection is to provide a consolidated record of the contribution made by Alexander Downer, his father Sir Alick Downer and his grandfather Sir John Downer to South Australian and Australian politics and to world affairs. The collection includes photographs, newspaper clippings, reports, diaries, correspondence, artwork and realia, including items collected from international travel and diplomatic engagements.

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