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16 June 1981 Sir Thomas Playford

 16 June 1981   Sir Thomas Playford

Sir Thomas Playford, who died on the 16 June 1981, holds the record as the longest serving Premier of any British Commonwealth state. When the Labour Party won office on the 10 March 1965 Playford ceased to be Premier of South Australia after 26 years and 125 days. His grandfather Thomas was also Premier from 1887-89 and 1890-92. In 1933 Thomas Playford IV entered politics when he was elected for the electorate of Murray. He was made Premier in November 1938 on the resignation of Richard Butler. 

The effects of the Depression had been particularly hard in South Australia because of its dependence on primary production. Tom Playford set about changing this by encouraging the growth of industries, and he is best remembered for this aspect of his rule. The Leigh Creek coal development, BHP in Whyalla, the Morgan-Whyalla pipeline, and the nationalisation of the Adelaide Electric Supply Company to form the Electricity Trust are some of his legacies. He was an able leader and dedicated to carrying out policies which he believed would benefit South Australia.

He lived on the family's cherry garden property at Norton Summit and remained a man of simple tastes.

Dean Jaensch, 'The Playford Era', Dean Jaensch (ed), The Flinders History of South Australia Political History, 1986, pp. 243-263.

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