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Stanley Melbourne Bruce's Cigarette Case

Video clip synopsis – Stanley Melbourne Bruce treasured Turkish President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s gift of a gold cigarette case throughout his life.
Year of production - 2007
Duration - 5min 2sec
Tags - Australian History, biography, icons, identity, leadership, Prime Ministers, representations, see all tags


Stanley Melbourne Bruce's Cigarette Case

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About the Video Clip


Stanley Melbourne Bruce’s Cigarette Case is an episode from the series The Prime Ministers’ National Treasures, produced in 2007.

The Prime Ministers’ National Treasures
Award winning cartoonist and yarn spinner, Warren Brown, reveals the emotional lives of Australian Prime Ministers through 10 objects they used every day or even adored – from Robert Menzies’ home movie camera, to Joseph Lyons’ love letters, Harold Holt’s briefcase and Ben Chifley’s pipe. These treasures reveal the nation’s leaders, as you have never seen them before.

The Prime Ministers’ National Treasures is a Film Australia National Interest Program produced in association with Old Parliament House and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Background Information


Stanley Melbourne Bruce was born into a wealthy commercial family, and was an outstanding athlete at school and later Cambridge University, where he qualified as a barrister.

He was in England when war was declared in 1914, and enlisted in the British Army. He was awarded the Military Cross, a high order award for bravery in battle, at Gallipoli.

He was wounded and returned to Australia in 1917. He entered the Commonwealth Parliament in 1918, and served as Treasurer, and then Prime Minister. He served as Australia’s High Commissioner to Britain between 1933 and 1945.

Until the day he died, Stanley Melbourne Bruce kept two photographs in his study – one of his wife and one of Turkish President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish state. As young men they were enemies at Gallipoli, but during the post-war years of international reconstruction, they forged a mutual admiration as passionate advocates of secularism. After the League of Nations Montreux conference in 1936, that successfully organised the international passage or warships through the Dardanelles and Bosporus Straits of Turkey, Atatürk presented Bruce with a gold cigarette case, which he treasured for the rest of his life.

Stanley Melbourne Bruce (1883 – 1967) was Prime Minister of Australia from February 1923 to October 1929. Stanley Melbourne Bruce’s cigarette case is held at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra.

Classroom Activities


Assessing a leader

A good way of assessing leadership is through a biographical study of the leader. Focus research on:

  • The person’s background
  • His life before politics — and how that shaped his later life
  • Why the person entered politics
  • How the person became Prime Minister
  • His qualities in office
  • What the person achieved, and failed to achieve, as Prime Minister
  • The influence of others on him in the role
  • His life after the Prime Ministership
  • An assessment or evaluation of his role as a national leader.

Further Resources


Go to the National Archives of Australia Australian Prime Ministers website