Sir Reginald Swartz KBE MBE ED (1911-2006)

Left: Sir Reginald Swartz
Minister for Civil Aviation 1966-1969

(Photo: CAHS collection)

Reginald William Colin Swartz was born in Bisbane on 14 April 1911 and educated at Toowoomba Grammar. At the age of 17 he joined the Citizens Military Forces and on the outbreak of war enlisted in the 2nd A.I.F. He served with the 8th Division's 2/26 Infantry Battalion in the Malayan campaign, during which he was captured by the Japanese. He was a prisoner of war for three-and-a-half years, spending time in Changi and a period working on the Burma-Thailand railway.

Reg Swartz returned to Australia in 1945 and entered Parliament as the Member for Darling Downs with the election of the Menzies Liberal Government in 1949. He held the seat for 23 years and served as a Minister in the Menzies, Holt, McEwen and Gorton governments. He was a Parliamentary Secretary for Commerce and then Trade between 1952 to 1961, and then successively Minister for Repatriation, Health, Social Services, Civil Aviation (1966-69) and National Development. He was Leader of the House of Representatives from 1971-72, when he retired from Parliament.

In politics Reg Swartz earned respect from all sides for his integrity and decency, and was regarded as a competent Minister. He was created a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in June 1972.

Sir Reginald Swartz died in February 2006 aged 94 and was survived by his second wife Lady (Muriel) Swartz and three children. He was given a State Funeral which was held in Caloundra.

Consult a list of Civil Aviation Ministers

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