The Fraser campaign diaries

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Associate Professor Sally Young

Research Director, Election Watch
Melbourne School of Government
University of Melbourne


Click above to view document. Courtesy: Malcolm Fraser Collection

DURING THIS campaign, the leaders’ itineraries will be closely guarded secrets. Even the journalists travelling on the leaders’ campaign buses (and planes) usually don't know where they are going until the last minute. (See our previous article on frontline reporting.) 


But we here at Election Watch have scored a scoop – a full campaign itinerary! OK, so it’s from 1977 but that doesn’t make it any less of a coup as it’s so rare to ever see one of these internal documents in public.


The 1977 federal election saw Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser up against his bitter rival, former Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, following on from the hostilities of the November 1975 dismissal and subsequent election. The Coalition lost five seats in 1977, but still maintained a substantial majority (winning 86 out of 124 seats).


Election Watch has been granted rare access to Mr Fraser’s entire 1977 campaign schedule. The 22 page document includes details of Mr Fraser’s travel commitments, public events, private meetings and interviews with journalists. It shows which hotels he stayed at and includes hand written notes. This amazing document was located in the Malcolm Fraser Collection, which holds documents, photographs, books and other material relating to the life, family and career of the Mr Fraser, Prime Minister from 1975 to 1983.


The below map is based on information obtained from the document, and allows you to follow Mr Fraser on the campaign trail. Each day is assigned a unique colour, and you can click on a line to see a list of that day's destinations and estimated travel distances.


(Graphics and map by Ryan Sheales)




Day 1
Melbourne > Whyalla (SA) > Adelaide
1086 km

Day 11
Melbourne > Bendigo > Melbourne
274 km

Day 2
Adelaide > Sydney
1162 km

Day 12
Melbourne > Sydney
711 km

Day 3
Sydney > Brisbane > Melbourne
2111 km

Day 13
Sydney > Brisbane > Townsville
1854 km


Day 4
Melbourne (no travel)

Day 14
Townsville > Melbourne
2065 km

Day 5
Melbourne > Hamilton > Melbourne
522 km

Day 15
Melbourne > Nowra > Sydney
722 km

Day 6
Melbourne > Launceston > Hobart
604 km

Day 16
Sydney > Canberra > Melbourne
708 km


Day 7
Hobart (no travel)

Day 17
Melbourne > Canberra > Sydney
712 km

Day 8
Hobart > Sydney
1056 km

Day 18
Sydney > Melbourne > Ararat > Portland
1139 km

Day 9
Sydney > Perth
3293 km

Day 19
Warrnambool > Melbourne
225 km

Day 10
Perth > Melbourne
3293 km



21,550 kms (approx.)



Election 1977: Programme for Prime Minister and Mrs Fraser’, 21 November 1977, located in the Fraser Collection 2007.0010, Box 3 of 5, University of Melbourne Archives. Reproduced with kind permission of The Rt Hon. Malcolm Fraser.


With thanks to Katie Wood for archival assistance and permissions and Ryan Sheales for creating the Google Map itinerary.