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Bjelke-Petersen, Hon Sir Johannes (Joh)

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Birth Date: 13 January 1911 (Dannevirke, New Zealand)

Death Date: 23 April 2005 (Kingaroy, Queensland, Australia)

Parents: Carl George Bjelke-Petersen and Maren (nee Poulsen)

Family: Florence (Flo) Isabel Gilmour on 31 May 1952, 1 son, 3 daughters

Education: Taabinga State School, Kingaroy; Queensland correspondence courses and private study; Honorary Doctorate of Laws, University of Queensland, 1985

Religion: Lutheran

Relationship to Politician: His wife Lady Bjelke-Petersen was a Senator (Federal) for Qld, National Party, 1981 to 1993


Company director, Bjelke-Petersen Enterprises Pty Ltd; Farmer; Contract harvesting; Earthmoving business

Party Positions:

  1. (NP) Leader, Queensland delegation to the Australian Constitutional Convention, 1975, 1976 and 1978
  2. (CP) Delegate, Australian Area Conference Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, 1961
  3. (NP) Leader, Country Party, subsequently the National Party, Aug 1968 - Dec 1987
  4. (CP) Deputy Leader, Country Party, Jan 1968 - Aug 1968

Official Awards: Sir Joh was knighted in 1984

Local Government Service: Councillor, Kingaroy Shire Council, 1946 to 1949; Kingaroy Shire Council's elected representative, Wide Bay-Burnett Regional Electricity Board

Parliamentary Representation:

House Party Electorate From To Elected/Departure Reason
Assembly CP Nanango 3 May 1947 29 Apr 1950
Assembly CN Barambah 29 Apr 1950 1 Dec 1987 Retired

Parliamentary Service

Description From To
Treasurer 19 Aug 1983 1 Dec 1987
Member, Standing Orders Committee 1968
Premier 8 Aug 1968 1 Dec 1987
Minister for Works and Housing 26 Sep 1963 8 Oct 1968
Member, Parliamentary Printing Committee 1960 1962

Additional Information

Notes: Interests included flying and physical culture. Sir Joh pioneered the pulling of scrub by bulldozers, using the chain method of felling timber. Chairman, Hope Vale Mission Board, 1952-1962. In April 1974, to broaden the base of the small Country Party, Sir Joh renamed it the National Party. Patron of the following organisations: ANZAC Combined Dawn Service Committee; Audit Office Sports Club; Royal Geographical Society of Australasia (Qld); and the Young National Party of Australia (Qld). Vice-patron of the following organisations: Asthma Foundation of Queensland; National Trust of Queensland; Queensland Lawn Tennis Association; Queensland Rugby Union; South Burnett Primary School's Amateur Athletic Association; Surf Life Saving Association (Qld); and the Totally and Permanently Disabled Soldiers Association of Australia (Qld). Co-patron, Blue Nursing Service Council. President, Queensland Festival of the Arts Society. He strongly promoted development and investment in Queensland. The achievements Sir Joh was most proud of include the building of Wivenhoe and Burdekin dams, the Gateway Bridge, the electrification and modernisation of the Queensland rail network, the staging of the 1982 Commonwealth Games and World Expo 88 and his personal decision to abolish death duties. During the 1980s Sir Joh introduced stamp duty concessions and exemptions to small business, family property transfer, first home buyers and mortgages. To attract interstate investment and stimulate the economy, he also introduced payroll tax exemptions for small businesses and employers with apprentices. Projects such as Sanctuary Cove and Bond University owe their existence to the personal approval of Sir Joh. Racing and gaming industries also prospered under his leadership. Development plans for a casino in Townsville and on the Gold Coast were underway in 1982. Poker machines remained banned in Queensland under Joh's government

Sources: Image sourced from the collection of the Queensland Parliamentary Library and Research Service; Wardill, S, `Joh loses fight for compo', Courier-Mail, 29 December 2003; Criminal Justice Commission 1993, Report by the Honourable WJ Carter QC on his Inquiry into the Selection of the Jury for the Trial of Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen, p.7; `From today it's Sir Joh', Courier-Mail, 16 June 1984; Lunn, H, 1987, Joh: the life and political adventures of Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen, p.213; Wear, R, 2002, Johannes Bjelke-Petersen: the Lord's Prayer, p.51; Fitzgerald, R, 1984, A History of Queensland: from 1915 to the early 1980s, p.295; `Could Queensland go it alone?', Courier-Mail, 24 March 1977; Waterson, DB and John Arnold, Biographical Register of the Queensland Parliament: 1930-1980, (Canberra: ANU Press, 1982); Murphy, Denis and Roger Joyce, eds, The Premiers of Queensland, revised edition (St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1990)

[Last Modified: Monday, 18 September 2017]