Sir David Fairbairn
Member of the Australian Parliament
10 December 1949 – 11 November 1975
Preceded by New seat Succeeded by Wal Fife Personal details Born 3 March 1917
Died 1 June 1994(aged 77)
Nationality English Australian Political party Liberal Party of Australia Spouse(s) Ruth Relations George Fairbairn (grandfather)
Edmund Jowett (grandfather)
James Fairbairn (uncle)
Children Three daughters Alma mater Cambridge University Occupation Soldier Military service Allegiance Australia Service/branch Australian Army
Royal Australian Air Force
Years of service 1939–1945 Rank Flight Lieutenant Unit 21st Light Horse Riverina Regiment (1939–1941)
No. 79 Squadron (1941–1945)
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Flying Cross
Fairbairn was born in Claygate, Surrey, England. His grandfathers both served in the Parliament of Australia — Sir George Fairbairn served in the House of Representatives seat of division of Fawkner from 1906 to 1913 and in the Senate from 1917 to 1923 and Edmund Jowett was the federal member for Grampians from 1917 to 1922. His uncle, James Fairbairn, was one of three ministers in the Menzies government who were killed in the 1940 Canberra air disaster.
World War II
During World War II, he served in the 21st Light Horse Riverina Regiment from 1939 to 1941 and joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1941. He served both in Britain, where he located the first V-1 flying bomb launching site, and in the New Guinea campaign. In 1945 he was badly wounded and discharged with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. Fairbairn had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944.
In the 1949 election, Fairbairn was elected to the House of Representatives as the federal member for Farrer. He was appointed Minister for the Air in 1962 in the ninth Menzies Ministry. In 1964, he became Minister for National Development. After the 1969 election, he challenged John Gorton unsuccessfully for the leadership and then resigned from the ministry, saying: "I have given deep thought and consideration to this decision. I have made it reluctantly. My sole concern in coming to it is the future of the Liberal Party, the Government and the Nation." According to Ian Sinclair, he was opposed to Gorton's centralism and in particular, his attempt to claim of sovereignty over Australia's territorial waters and continental shelf for the Commonwealth. Fairbairn became Minister for Education and Science in March 1971 in the McMahon Ministry and Minister for Defence from August 1971 to the government's defeat in 1972 election. He retired from Parliament at the 1975 election.
- ^ a b c Howe, Brian (6 June 1994). "Condolences: Fairbairn, Hon. Sir David Eric, KBE DFC". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F1994-06-06%2F0058%22. Retrieved 2008-10-23.
- ^ a b Sinclair, Ian (6 June 1994). "Condolences: Fairbairn, Hon. Sir David Eric, KBE DFC". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F1994-06-06%2F0062%22. Retrieved 2008-10-23.
- ^ Downer, Alexander (6 June 1994). "Condolences: Fairbairn, Hon. Sir David Eric, KBE DFC". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F1994-06-06%2F0059%22. Retrieved 2008-10-23.
- ^ "Fairbairn, David Eric". It's an Honour. Government of Australia. http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/honours/honour_roll/search.cfm?aus_award_id=1069821&search_type=quick&showInd=true. Retrieved 2007-10-19.
- ^ "Fairbairn, David Eric". It's an Honour. Government of Australia. http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/honours/honour_roll/search.cfm?aus_award_id=1082232&search_type=quick&showInd=true. Retrieved 2007-10-19.
Political offices Preceded by
Minister for the Air
1962 – 1964
Minister for National Development
1964 – 1969
Minister for Education and Science
Minister for Defence
1971 – 1972
Parliament of Australia New division Member for Farrer
1949 – 1975
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