The famous ‘Premier for a Week,’ long serving Deputy Premier Gordon Chalk was born in Rosewood in 1913. Here is an account of the life of Gordon Chalk from the Rosewood Scrub Historical Society:
“On Saturdays and on long summer evenings, the 15 year old Gordon Chalk devoted a substantial proportion of his energy to something he really enjoyed – bicycle riding. With money saved from his wages he bought a Bruce Small ‘Malvern Star’ racing bike. The Rosewood Amateur Wheelers competed regularly on a course that took advantage of one of the rare stretches of bitumen in the region – three four-mile circuits starting at the railway gates and finishing in the town. Gordon was quite successful, twice winning medals in the 100 mile race from Brisbane to Southport and back.
Gordon also enjoyed a game of soccer and was occasionally the goalkeeper for the ‘Rosewood Ramblers’ junior soccer team.
Having been taught the piano for four years from the age of eight, he took on other instruments such as the cornet and regularly performed in a band in Rosewood, playing for friends and family.
1929: A year of political change in Rosewood
In 1929 an election was called. The state Labor government had governed Queensland for 14 years but was now riddled with dissension. The sitting member in the Rosewood electorate was a Labor backbencher, Bill Cooper, who had held the seat since 1918. He had a strong support from the local miners as well as the German community in Marburg where he lived. No one could be persuaded to stand against him, except a Edmund Bede Maher, a Country and Progressive Nationals candidate from Yelarbon, near Goondiwindi. When Maher came to Rosewood he knew no one, but he thought that if he would get the local newspaper on his side, that would help. He approached Ms Pender from the Rosewood Register & Marburg Mail with a proposition involving considerable advertising and printing in exchange for information as Ms Pender was a Labour voter and a very good friend of Mrs. Cooper, the wife of the local candidate. The solution was that Gordon Chalk would be the one who would deal with the outsider. Gordon would run messages, arrange meetings and acted as secretary. This was the start of Gordon’s political career. Gordon later explained “If Maher had lost the election I probably would have continued association with my many Labor friends… But having smelt the air of victory with Maher – and valued the receipt of his financial handouts – I naturally had to continue backing my winning horse’. Gordon had found his goal. To achieve it he took courses in accountancy and business. In 1931 he passed book-keeping, auditing, bankruptcy law and company law. In 1932 he was elected secretary of the Rosewood Agricultural and Horticultural Association. He obtained a Law degree before becoming involved in politics.
State politics and great achievements
He was Minister for Transport from 1957 – 1965 Treasurer from 1965 – 1976. He was sworn in as Premier on August 1 1968 after the sudden death of the then Premier Jack Pizzey. His premiership lasted precisely 8 days, as on August 8, 1968, Joh Bjelke Peterson was elected. Gordon Chalk became leader of the Liberal Party in December 1965 and held this position until his resignation in 1976.
In June 1971 he was knighted in the order of the British Empire (KBE). Gordon Chalk died on April 26 1991.