Title: Kent Hughes – A Biography of Colonel The Hon. Sir Wilfred Kent Hughes
Author: Howard, Frederick
Condition: Very Good +
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 1972
Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 255 pages
Comments: The biography of Colonel The Hon. Sir Wilfred Kent Hughes.
Sir Wilfrid Selwyn Kent Hughes KBE, MVO, MC (12 June 1895 – 31 July 1970) was an Australian soldier, Olympian and Olympic Games organiser, author and federal and state government minister.
Kent Hughes was born in Melbourne to an upper middle-class family. He was set to attend the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship when he enlisted in the army on the outbreak of World War I. After his discharge from the army, Kent Hughes attended Oxford and represented Australia in athletics as a hurdler at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp. Upon the completion of his degree at Oxford, Kent Hughes returned to Australia, seeking a career in politics. Elected to the Victorian state parliament in 1927, Kent Hughes sat with the conservative Nationalist Party of Australia, rising to the position of Deputy Premier of Victoria. Kent Hughes proved to be a controversial figure in politics, and was never afraid to publicly espouse his personal beliefs, such as an admiration for fascism, of which he had a poor understanding.
Kent Hughes re-enlisted in the army at the outbreak of World War II and, while stationed in Singapore, was captured by the Japanese. He spent four years as a prisoner of war before his liberation by the Red Army in 1945. Kent Hughes returned to Victorian state politics until switching to federal politics in 1949.
He was appointed a Minister in the federal government led by Robert Menzies but complained his responsibilities were trifling. More interesting to him was the chairmanship of the 1956 Summer Olympics Organising Committee, where he showed he was willing to break longstanding Olympic conventions in order to modernise the Games. His role in the organisation of the Melbourne Olympics has led sporting historians to refer to Kent Hughes as “one of the most important figures in Olympic History”.
Following the Olympics Kent Hughes was dropped from his ministerial posts and spent the remainder of his time in parliament on the backbenches, gaining a reputation as the most ardent anti-communist in parliament. He died aged 75 in 1970, still a member of federal parliament.