The Hon Robert James Lee (Bob) Hawke AC was born in Bordertown, South Australia in 1929. He was educated at the University of Western Australia, Oxford University and the Australian National University (ANU). Prior to completing his studies at ANU, Hawke joined the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) as a research officer, later becoming the ACTU president from 1973 to 1980.
Hawke joined the Australian Labor Party (ALP) while he was at university and in 1983 was elected as the ALP Leader. Later that year Hawke won the election and became Prime Minister. Under his leadership, the ALP went on to win the next three elections, making Hawke the longest-serving Labor prime minister in Australian history. Throughout his term, Hawke focused on public health care (establishing Medicare), education, human rights and reforms in economics, environmental policy and international affairs.
In 1991, Hawke resigned as Prime Minister and in 1992, he resigned from politics. The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre was established in 1997, along with the Hawke EU Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library. Hawke continued to lend a voice to national issues and remained a strong supporter of the Australian Labor Party until his death on 16 May 2019.
Image above: Robert Hannaford. Hon RJL Hawke AC Prime Minister of Australia, oil on canvas, Adelaide 2000.
The Bob Hawke Collection focuses on items of historical and political interest and includes Hawke's personal papers, photographs, newspaper clippings, audio and video recordings including oral history, posters and original artworks. The collection also includes a large, varied selection of realia, including a motorcycle, sculptures, state gifts, campaign memorabilia and commemorative items.
Select the heading below to learn more about accessing the Bob Hawke Collection.
The collection is housed in the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library at the University of South Australia City West Campus. Items are not available for loan but can be viewed by appointment with the Special Collections Coordinator. For access to the collection, please contact Ask the Library.
Some items within the collection can be accessed online through UniSA's Special Collections Catalogue. You can search or browse the Bob Hawke Collection by selecting the links below:
For more information about conducting archival research, please visit our Archival Research guide.
The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library (BHPML), as part of the University of South Australia Library and The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre presented a public talk and exhibition as part of the 2019 South Australia History Festival. The talk can be viewed in full in the video above.
Records relating to the Hon Bob Hawke AC AGL are held in a number of organisations across Australia. More information and archival material can be found by exploring the collections linked below.
Related archival collections
There is also wealth of freely accessible information about the Hon Bob Hawke AC GCL available online. The resources linked below have been selected by staff at the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library for their quality and accessibility.
Sue Pieters-Hawke 2019
Bob Hawke: The Complete Biography
Blanche d'Alpuget 2019
Wednesdays with Bob
Bob Hawke & Derek Rielly 2017
The Hawke Legacy
Gerry Bloustein, Barbara Comber & Alison Mackinnon 2009
The Hawke Government: A Critical Retrospective
Susan Ryan & Troy Bramston 2003
More books about Bob Hawke can be found in the National Library of Australia's TROVE catalogue.