Sir Frederic Shedden: The Forerunner

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Sir Frederick Shedden occupies an interesting and perhaps unique place in any consideration of the great mandarins of the Commonwealth Public Service who flourished, exercised their power, and helped to build modern Australia in the quarter of a century after the end of the Second World War. In many respects he fitted neatly into this characterisation – he was the secretary of the Department of Defence from 1937 until 1956; he wielded great power in the Defence group of departments; he was a key adviser to the prime minister; and he helped shape many of the instruments of government. But in other respects he was different. Unlike his contemporaries from this period, he had been secretary of his department since 1937, that is from before the Second World War. Although he had almost completed a university degree in commerce, he was not especially concerned with economic issues. By the mid-1950s, his power and influence were waning, and he stepped down as departmental secretary almost two years before he formally retired. Further, unlike other mandarins, he refused to move permanently to Canberra, and worked in Melbourne for his entire career.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Seven Dwarfs and the Age of the Mandarins: Australian Government Administration in the Post-war Reconstruction Era
    Editors Samuel Furphy
    Place of PublicationCanberra
    PublisherANU Press
    ISBN (Print)9781925022339
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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