He well and truly does. Colour went with King O?Malley. He breezes into the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition of 1888 to have international pressmen rocking with laughter as he tells his stories. He fights two elections in 1899 for the South Australian Colonial Parliament that remain lively, unreported chapters in its history. And during sixteen years in Federal Parliament, he packs ?em in.
He wins a seat in the newly federated Australian Parliament and fights off bitter, entrenched opposition to lead the Labor Party in founding a ?people?s bank?, the Commonwealth Bank. As an old man in Melbourne, O?Malley is appalled at a bid in 1939 toward undermining his bank with privatisation. He calls on Australians to swear by the tombs of their ancestors that they won?t allow this and would have been irate in its loss to privatisation in recent years. He was critical of the way his Commonwealth Bank was being run ? as he would be today.
King O?Malley?s stirring life is the subject of three biographies and a hit musical. King strove amid central themes in Australian history ? the vote for women, Federation, pensions, and the fight over conscription. As Minister for Home Affairs, he launched the bold bid to push a railway across the wastes to West Australia and led the building of Canberra. King O?Malley was a national hero of a high order.