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Curtin University
John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library
Curtin University Library

Hazel Hawke - wife of Bob Hawke, PM of Australia (1983-1991)

Hazel Hawke was born in Perth in 1929, the younger daughter of James and Edith Masterton. She was educated at Mt Hawthorn State School and the Perth Central Girls School.

She married Bob Hawke in 1956 and worked at the Indian High Commission in Canberra. The Hawkes lived in Melbourne from 1958 to 1983 and during this time Mrs Hawke pursued a Diploma of Welfare Studies.

When Bob Hawke became prime minister in March 1983, the Hawkes moved to the Lodge in Canberra, where they lived during his time in office. As first lady, Hazel actively pursued her interest in community work, the environment, women's and children's issues, music and the arts.
Hazel Hawke at the piano, 1986. JCPML00425/45
Hazel Hawke at the piano, 1986. JCPML00425/45.

As a strong and active leader in the community, Hazel Hawke held numerous positions across a broad range of organisations including the NSW Heritage Council, the Australian Children's Television Foundation and the World Wide Fund for Nature.

In January 1992 the Hawkes moved to Sydney to live and in December her autobiography My Own Life was published. She was divorced in 1995.

What's in the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library on Hazel Hawke?

A donation of research papers from Mrs Hazel Hawke has been significant in developing the JCPML collection in one of its focal areas, namely 'The Prime Ministership as an Office'. These papers document Mrs Hawke's time at the prime minister's Lodge and include a comprehensive set of speeches, photographs, correspondence, and scrapbooks of press cuttings evocative of the leading role played by Mrs Hawke during these years. In addition, the JCPML has undertaken a series of interviews with Mrs Hawke and her key associates. The collection also documents her life before and after being Australia's first lady.

Further details and finding aids for the Hazel Hawke Collection can be obtained via the JCPML Electronic Research Archive (ERA).

To sample the collection, explore the following selected records that relate to Hazel Hawke's time in the Lodge.

Selected records

View the finding aid for Photographs collected by Hazel Hawke Family in ERA.

For example:

Records of Hazel Hawke. Hazel Hawke opening Ronald McDonald House of Life, Subiaco, 1990. JCPML00425/314.

Hazel Hawke opening Ronald McDonald House of Life, Subiaco, 1990

Records of Hazel Hawke. Hazel Hawke with Pat Edgar at 'Lift Off' function, 1992. JCPML00425/334. (In 1984 Mrs Hawke joined the Board of the Australian Children's Television Foundation. 'Lift Off' is a children's television series produced in the 1990s.)

Hazel Hawke with Pat Edgar at 'Lift Off' funtion, 1992

Records of Hazel Hawke. Hazel Hawke and schoolchildren at World Wildlife Fund function, 1983. JCPML00425/284. (As Patron of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, Mrs Hawke launched the Australian Wildlife Club at the Fund's Australian offices at St Martins Tower, Sydney.)

Hazel Hawke and schoolchildren at World Wildlife Fund function, 1983

View the finding aid for Speeches delivered by Mrs Hazel Hawke in ERA.

For example:

Records of Hazel Hawke. Transcript of National Press Club speech by Mrs Hazel Hawke, and related papers, 1984. JCPML00350/2.

National Press Club
Speech by Hazel Hawke (transcript)

Records of Hazel Hawke. Speeches delivered by Mrs Hazel Hawke, 1988. JCPML00350/5. (In 1988, Mrs Hawke flew to Yuendumu, four hundred kilometres west of Alice Springs, to open the Yuelamu Art Gallery and Museum, featuring art of the Aboriginal women of the community.)

Opening of Yuelamu Art Gallery & Museum
Speech by Hazel Hawke (transcript)

View the finding aid for Invitations accepted and declined by Mrs Hazel Hawke in ERA.

For example: Records of Hazel Hawke. Invitations accepted by Mrs Hazel Hawke, 1988. JCPML00352/19.

Invitation to Hazel Hawke to opening of the Yuelamu Art Gallery and Museum, 16 April 1988

Invitation to opening of Yuelamu Art Gallery & Museum, 1988

JCPML online resources

Brief biography of Hazel Hawke

Without classification: Hazel Hawke (This online exhibition offer parallels between themes of importance to Hazel Hawke during her time in the Lodge with the messages and persuasions of poster art of that time.)

In search of the light on the hill - 2nd JCPML anniversary lecture, 5 July 1999, delivered by Hazel Hawke.

Link to online exhibition Without classification: Hazel Hawke

Link to lecture by Hazel Hawke
& transcript of lecture
(requires Quicktime)


What's in the JCPML on John Curtin l Elsie Curtin l Hazel Hawke?

Go to the National Archives of Australia's Go to the NAA's  'Australia's PMs website'