Farewell to a Life of Service: William Hayden To Be Honoured at State Funeral

William Hayden
Photo credit: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

A State Funeral on November 3 will honour William “Bill” Hayden, the former Governor-General, government minister, and long-time opposition leader who devoted over 30 years to representing the people of Oxley in the Australian Parliament.


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Hayden first entered politics in 1961 when he was elected to the House of Representatives. As a member of the Australian Labor Party, he served in influential roles including Minister for Social Security, Treasurer, and Foreign Minister. 

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He is remembered for his instrumental work implementing major social reforms like Medibank during the Whitlam era.

Hayden shortly after his election, in 1962(Photo credit: National Archives of Australia)

In the late 1970s, Hayden became Leader of the Labor Party in opposition. Although he did not become Prime Minister, he is credited with rebuilding and modernising the party after the tumultuous Whitlam dismissal. His diplomatic prowess later made him a well-regarded Foreign Minister under Bob Hawke.

William Hayden
William Hayden as Governor-General in 1990 (Photo credit: CC BY-SA 3.0/Ali Kazak 9 – Derivative work of File:57 Received By the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia/Wikimedia Commons)

Hayden’s integrity and wisdom as a statesman were recognised when he was appointed Governor-General in 1989. 

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He served with distinction for seven years as Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in Australia. The Companion of the Order of Australia he received that same year was one of many honours befitting his eminent public life.

On November 3, a State Funeral at St Mary’s Church in his hometown of Ipswich will commemorate Hayden’s legacy. All are welcome to honour this humble man who contributed so greatly to Australian society through his principled leadership and devotion to social justice. Though he has passed, Hayden’s impact will long be felt.

Those wishing to attend the State Funeral should arrive early, as doors will open at 9:30 am and guests are requested to be seated by 10:00 a.m. when the service begins. Ushers will be available to help with seating.

Registration in advance is required. Further inquiries can be directed to the Protocol and International Visits Branch on (02) 6271 6033 or to statefuneral@pmc.gov.au


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For those unable to attend in person, St Mary’s Church will livestream the funeral service on its YouTube channel starting at 11:00 a.m. Queensland time.

Published 31-October-2023