Desperately Seeking Ethel

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26th October 2009, 01:00pm - Views: 884

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National Archives of Australia

Media Release

Canberra • Melbourne • Sydney • Brisbane • Darwin • Adelaide • Perth • Hobart


The National Archives is urging Australians to find letters or objects connected to Ethel

Bruce, the wife of the nation’s eighth Prime Minister Stanley Melbourne Bruce, whose story

forms part of an exhibition opening at the National Archives in Canberra in December. 

Ethel Bruce played an important part in supporting her husband’s political career and was

influential in the interior design of The Lodge, but little original material about her appears

to have survived in Australian collections.

Exhibitions curator with the National Archives Tracey Clarke said, “Ethel Bruce would have

received and written many letters in her role as Prime Minister’s wife, but there are very few


“The Bruces had a very strong relationship and she was with him at every stage of his career,

but there is so little known about her. We want to find out if there are people who have

stories or items connected to Ethel.” The couple had no children. 

Ethel Dunlop Anderson was born in Melbourne on 25 May 1879, one of seven daughters of

Andrew George Anderson. She died in 1967. Stanley Melbourne Bruce became Prime

Minister in 1923, aged 39. He was High Commissioner in London during World War II,

became a British peer as Viscount Lord Bruce of Melbourne and was the first Australian

appointed to the House of Lords. 

Ms Clarke said if an important item were uncovered, the National Archives would consider

putting it on display for the duration of the exhibition Stanley Melbourne Bruce: Prime Minister


Statesman. The exhibition, which opens on 11 December, showcases the rich Bruce

collection of objects and personal papers, many on display for the first time. 

Anyone with information about Ethel Bruce can visit and leave their details. A

curator will contact them.

Tracey Clarke is available for interview and photographs of Ethel Bruce can be

Media contacts: 

Ellen Peterson (02) 6212 3957,

0402 441 590; Yvonne Kennedy

(02) 6212 3755 or 0450 346 998 

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