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Andrew Fisher’s Lunch Box

Video clip synopsis – Andrew Fisher’s tin lunch box reminds us that humble beginnings informed his political career: he went from union organiser to three-time Prime Minister, inventing the Australian ideal of a ‘fair go’ along the way.
Year of production - 2007
Duration - 5min 5sec
Tags - Australian History, biography, icons, identity, national identity, Prime Ministers, see all tags


Andrew Fisher’s Lunch Box

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About the Video Clip


Andrew Fisher’s Lunch Box 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.

Curriculum Focus


Writing Standards
At Level 6, students write sustained and cohesive narratives that experiment with different techniques and show attention to chronology, characterisation, consistent point of view and development of a resolution. They write persuasive texts dealing with complex ideas and issues and control the linguistic structures and features that support the presentation of different perspectives on complex themes and issues. They select subject matter and begin to use a range of language techniques to try to position readers to accept particular views of people, characters, events, ideas and information.

This material is an extract. Teachers and Students should consult the Victoria Curriculum and Assessment Authority website for more information.

Background Information


Andrew Fisher’s tin lunch box reminds us that humble beginnings informed his formidable political career. Leaving school at ten, he was a coalminer throughout his teens, and migrated to Australia from Scotland at 23. He rose quickly from union organiser to three-time Prime Minister, inventing the Australian ideal of a ‘fair go’ along the way. Among a host of policies designed for the common good, he advocated maternity allowances and greater political equality for women.

Andrew Fisher (1862-1928) was Prime Minister of Australia three times; from November 1908 to June 1909, April 1910 to June 1913, September 1914 to October 1915. He is regarded as one of the most successful Australian politicians.

Andrew Fisher’s lunch box is held at the Gympie Gold Mining Museum in Queensland.

Classroom Activities


Writing a biography

One form of communication about a Prime Minister can be through a biography.

A biography of a Prime Minister should tell us about:

  • 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
  • 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 the impact of the role on him, and his impact on the nation.

You should research these aspects, and then use the object as a way of focusing on or introducing your biographical story to your readers.

Your presentation can be as:

  • A journalistic article
  • An imaginary memoir
  • A formal biographical article
  • A PowerPoint-supported oral presentation
  • A debate (e.g. that Prime Minister X contributed more to Australia than Prime Minister Y)
  • Or some other format.

Further Resources


Go to National Archives of Australia – Australian Prime Ministers
Go to the Australian Dictionary of Biography