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Gordon Bryant

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Gordon Bryant
Bryant in 1973
Minister for the Capital Territory
In office
9 October 1973 – 11 November 1975
Prime MinisterGough Whitlam
Preceded byKep Enderby
Succeeded byReg Withers
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
In office
19 December 1972 – 9 October 1973
Prime MinisterGough Whitlam
Preceded byPeter Howson (Environment, Aborigines and the Arts)
Succeeded byJim Cavanagh
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Wills
In office
10 December 1955 – 19 September 1980
Preceded byBill Bryson
Succeeded byBob Hawke
Personal details
Born(1914-08-03)3 August 1914
Lismore, Victoria, Australia
Died14 January 1991(1991-01-14) (aged 76)
Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
Political partyLabor
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne

Gordon Munro Bryant (3 August 1914 – 14 January 1991) was an Australian politician. He was a member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and represented the Division of Wills in Victoria from 1955 to 1980. He served as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (1972–1973) and Minister for the Capital Territory (1973–1975) in the Whitlam government.

Early life

Bryant was born on 3 August 1914 in Lismore, Victoria. He was the son of Agnes Keith (née Bain) and Donald Munro Bryant. His father, a storekeeper and farmer, was the nephew of Victorian premier James Munro.[1]

Bryant moved to Baxter as a child and attended Frankston High School. He won a teaching scholarship and taught at Callaghan Creek (near Mitta Mitta), Pearcedale, and Mittyack. His teaching career was interrupted by the Second World War, but after the war's end he became a high school teacher at Upwey. He completed a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) at the University of Melbourne in 1950, having also studied at Melbourne Teachers' College before the war.[1]

Military service

Bryant enlisted in the Citizen Military Force in 1934. He was called up for full-time duty in 1942 and was transferred to the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in January 1943. He remained in Australia until 1945, when he participated in the Battle of Balikpapan as a captain in the 2/33rd Battalion.


Bryant was elected to Parliament in 1955. A passionate supporter of land rights, he was president of the Aborigines Advancement League for seven years, from 1957 to 1964.

After seventeen years in Parliament, Bryant joined the Cabinet of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, becoming Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in 1972. A year later he became Minister for the Capital Territory. As Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, he was instrumental in the Whitlam government's historic land rights deal with Vincent Lingiari and the Gurindji people. Bryant retired in 1980, and his electorate was taken over by future Prime Minister Bob Hawke. Bryant had earlier resisted pressure to retire early in order to expedite Hawke's entry to Parliament via a by-election.

Personal life

Bryant was married and had two sons.

He died in January 1991, eleven months prior to Hawke's ousting as Prime Minister.


  1. ^ a b Gifford, Peter (2015). "Bryant, Gordon Munro (1914–1991)". Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  • Australian House of Representatives HANSARD, "DEATH OF HON. G.M. BRYANT, E.D.", 1991-02-12 (excerpt available online).
  • "PM lent hand to land rights", Karen Middleton, The West Australian, 2004-01-01.
Political offices Preceded byPeter Howson Minister for Aboriginal Affairs 1972–1973 Succeeded byJim Cavanagh Preceded byKep Enderby Minister for the Capital Territory 1973–1975 Succeeded byReg Withers Parliament of Australia Preceded byBill Bryson Member for Wills 1955–1980 Succeeded byBob Hawke
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Gordon Bryant
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