Australian Prime Minister’s boyhood home

link to French translationAustralian Prime Minister’s boyhood home, 16 Abbey Road

photo_of_billy_hughesBryn Rosa was probably built in the late 1840s, for Miss Mary Hughes. She ran it as an apartment house.

It was the boyhood home of William Morris Hughes, born in London of Welsh parents in 1862. After the death of his mother, Jane Hughes, he was sent at the age of seven to live with his Aunt Mary in Llandudno. He attended the grammar school in Cwlach Street and later became a pupil teacher at St Stephen’s School, Westminster.

He emigrated to Australia in 1884 where he became a trade union organizer and was elected to the New South Wales Parliament in 1894. After the formation of the Australian Federation in 1901, he was elected prime minister in 1915. He was one of only two Welsh prime ministers in history, the other being David Lloyd George. He is pictured right as a young man, and below in old age.

As part of Lloyd George’s War Cabinet, Billy Hughes visited Bryn Rosa and his former school in Llandudno in 1916. His last visit was in 1921, when he looked again at his childhood home.

The proprietors of Brphoto_of_billy_hughesyn Rosa guesthouse fly the Australian flag in his memory each year on Anzac day, 25 April, which marks the anniversay of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces in the First World War.

Billy Hughes was best known as The Little Digger in Australia, the nickname referring to his wartime leadership. He used to take the salute at the annual Anzac Day parade in Sydney, wearing the distinctive Australian soldier’s slouch hat given to him by the Gallipoli veterans.

As he aged, a chair was provided for him by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. After his death in 1952, the chair was still brought out and his hat hung over the back adorned with a sprig of rosemary. The custom continued until 1974, when the area was pedestrianised. His hat is preserved in the bank’s vaults and a plaque has been has been placed on the bank wall to commemorate the ceremony. He was commemorated by being featured on an Australian postage stamp in 1972.

With thanks to Pam Wilkinson and John Lawson-Reay, of the Llandudno & Colwyn Bay History Society

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LL30 2EA

Footnotes: More about Bryn Rosa

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