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When WM Hughes died on 28 October 1952 at the age of 90, he had been a member of the House of Representatives for 50 years, from the 1st Parliament in 1901, to the 20th Parliament in 1952.
Some 300,000 people lined the route of the funeral procession as the coffin was borne on a gun-carriage to St Andrew’s Cathedral in George Street, Sydney.
Hughes was buried in the grave of his youngest daughter, Helen, and when Dame Mary Hughes died in 1958 she was also buried in this grave.
A granite headstone marks the grave, in Sydney’s Northern Suburbs Cemetery. At the foot was planted a bush of rosemary, for remembrance.
On 11 November 1975 Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismissed the government of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam after the Senate blocked essential Bills. As Whitlam was dismissed while he had a majority in the House of Representatives, the decision remains a constitutional problem for Australia. This was the only time a Governor-General issued a writ for an election without a request from the Prime Minister.